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Florida school board goes against governor DeSantis and votes to keep mask mandate

Another school district in Florida is planning to defy Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mandates that would force students to wear masks when they return to the classroom in the fall.

WPLG Local 10 in Miami reported that the Broward County School Board voted 8 to 1 on Tuesday to press forward with its mask mandate for students and staff.

The school is seeking legal representation in its challenge to the executive order. The district characterised the order as a clear example of executive overreach in the affairs of local governing bodies.

Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward Teachers Union, issued a statement after the vote explaining why they believe defying the order is necessary.

“Wearing masks inside schools regardless of vaccine status is required to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission. It is a necessary precaution until children under 12 can receive a Covid-19 vaccination and more Americans 12 and older get vaccinated,” Ms Fusco said.

The decision drew protesters from both sides of the debate to the school board meeting. Demonstrators with signs showed up outside the building where the meeting was taking place.

Back in July, the county voted to require masking for students, staff and visitors. However, Mr DeSantis later killed that requirement when he issued an executive order to end all emergency mandates affecting schools and businesses.

Further, Mr DeSantis has threatened to strip the funding from districts who defy his order.

Florida currently has a higher average infection rate than any other place on the planet with the exception of the tiny Caribbean nation of Guadeloupe. The state has been ravaged by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and recently requested an additional 300 ventilators from the federal stockpile to treat the surge of patients filling its hospitals.

Broward County is not the only district defying the orders. Leon and Alachua counties have also stated their intent to enforce mask usage when the school year begins.

The governor’s executive order is already facing opposition; two lawsuits were filed on Friday arguing the directives are unconstitutional.

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