The Florida Board of Education on Thursday voted unanimously to sanction eight school districts with mask mandates that do not allow parents to opt out.
The eight districts — Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach — could potentially face funding cuts if they do not show they have complied with state government orders, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The superintendents from the eight school districts were allowed to express their views on Thursday. According to the newspaper, the school district leader spoke in support of their mask mandates, pointing to the drastic increase in COVID-19 cases they have observed.
Duval principal Diana Greene said her school district reported nearly 500 COVID-19 cases within eight days of the start of the school year. She added that 10 employees died within the first two weeks of the school year.
“In less than a week, we were already at 19 percent of the total cases reported for the entire school year 2020-21,” Greene said.
“The Florida Department of Health’s inability to conduct timely case investigations had a direct impact on the spread of the virus in our schools, ultimately bringing health and safety to students and staff,” Greene added.
Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna offered to give up his own salary if his district is punished for its mask mandate, the Times reported.
Numerous school districts in Florida have found themselves in direct conflict with the Florida state government for years as school officials defy the Florida government. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantis Education Department: Florida missed deadline for .3B in federal aid Jason Aldean says Californians’ should be outraged ‘over school vaccine mandate Democrats’ election registration shrink shrinks in key states MORE‘(R) Executive Order on the Prohibition of Mask Mandate. DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates has been argued back and forth in courts, where judges rule against and reinstate the measure.
These districts have found an ally in President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Xi Jinping hold virtual summit before the end of this year Facebook whistleblower to meet with January 6 committee: report On The Money – Presented by NRHC – Senate approaches debt ceiling – ceasefire MORE, where his administration financially reimbursed districts that have been punished for going against DeSantis’ order.
In September, the Department of Education provided nearly $ 148,000 in funding to the Alachua County School Board.
“We should thank the districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe and not punish them,” the education minister said Miguel CardonaMiguel Cardona Watch live: Education, HHS secretaries testify to school reopening The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – Democrats argue for price before politics amid collapse Overnight Health Care – Presented by Indivior – CDC panel approves boosters for some but not based on jobs MORE said in a statement at the time. “We stand with the dedicated educators in Alachua and across the country who are doing the right thing to protect their school community.”