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October 26, 2021
In an act of defiance towards Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, over half of the state’s public school population will be required to wear masks.
Earlier this summer, the Republican governor approved legislation that would leave the choice of masking students up to parents. The bill did not prohibit anyone from wearing a mask, although one bill cut funding to schools that enacted mandates. DeSantis said he disagreed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which suggest all students in K-12 wear coverings when they return to classrooms this fall, regardless of vaccination. DeSantis signed an executive order Friday prohibiting school districts in his state from having a choice to set such a mandate.
“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said in a statement. “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.”
Less than a week after the executive order, school districts across the state of Florida began defying DeSantis’ ban. Broward County Public Schools, the second-largest district in Florida and the sixth-largest in the country, announced a continuation of their mandate.
In a statement, the district suggested they are waiting for “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.”
Schools that defy the state mandates have received outspoken support from the Biden administration, which promised government funding to the public institutions. Parents of immunocompromised and disabled children have filed lawsuits against the governor for the ban, and defiance grew as Florida experienced record high COVID-19 cases in a spike due to the delta variant at the beginning of August.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS