Update: Broward County schools on Aug. 3 again changed course on whether to comply with or defy an executive order by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis which prohibited schools from imposing mask mandates on students.
In a written statement to The Epoch Times, the school board has not changed its policy but “paused it.”
“In light of the governor’s executive order, the district is awaiting further guidance before rendering a decision on the mask mandate for the upcoming school year. At this time, the district’s face covering policy, which requires the use of masks in district schools and facilities, remains in place.”
The School Board plans to discuss next steps at a special meeting on August 10.
Dr. Vickie Cartwright, interim superintendent of Broward County schools is looking into the executive order further.
“The school board is reviewing information and looking for language from our executive rules as a result of the governor’s executive order,” Cartwright said in a video statement.
On July 30, the governor signed an executive order that protects parents’ right to make decisions regarding the masking of their children as a means of protecting them from COVID-19. A month earlier, he signed a bill that protected the parents’ “fundamental right” to make decisions for the upbringing, education, health care, or mental health of their minor children.
“Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children,” DeSantis said.
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As we detailed earlier, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has had enough of the Covid hysteria.
Aside from going on record and calling the lockdowns a "huge mistake" back in April of his year, DeSantis has done everything he can to try and turn over the power in his state to its citizens, and away from the government.
The latest example of this comes this week, where DeSantis stood down Florida's second largest school district that was attempting to impose a mask mandate. In response, DeSantis threatened to withhold funding from the district.
"Broward County Public Schools announced last week that it would require mask use after the CDC issued new guidance recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools this incoming school year, regardless of vaccination status," Axios reported this week.
DeSantis had issued an executive order last Friday barring schools from requiring masks when school re-opens next month. His order read that "if the State Board of Education determines that a district school board is unwilling or unable to comply with the law, the State Board shall have the authority to, among other things, withhold the transfer of state funds, discretionary grant funds ... and declare the school district ineligible for competitive grants."
And that's exactly what DeSantis threatened to do before Broward County Public Schools backed down, releasing a statement on Monday that said: "Broward County Public Schools intends to comply with the governor's latest executive order."
The statement continued: "Safety remains our highest priority. The district will advocate for all eligible students and staff to receive vaccines and strongly encourage masks to be worn by everyone in schools."
DeSantis also spoke at a press conference this week, stating: “Even among a lot of positive tests, you are seeing much less mortality that you did year-over-year. Would I rather have 5,000 cases among 20-year-olds or 500 cases among seniors? I would rather have the younger.”
“We are not shutting down. We are going to have schools open. We are protecting every Floridian’s job in this state. We are protecting people’s small businesses. These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States but abroad.”
“We wanted to mitigate the damage. Now, in hindsight, the 15 days to slow the spread and the 30—it didn’t work,” DeSantis said.
“We shouldn’t have gone down that road.”
Florida’s lockdown order was notably less strict than some of the stay-at-home measures imposed in other states. Recreational activities like walking, biking, golf, and beachgoing were exempted while essential businesses were broadly defined.
“Our economy kept going,” DeSantis said. “It was much different than what you saw in some of those lockdown states.”
DeSantis has also opposed vaccine passports in Florida.