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Florida School Board Warns of Consequences for Schools Enforcing Mask Mandates

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During an urgent meeting on Tuesday, the Florida State Board of Education discussed the ongoing debate surrounding the use of face masks in public schools. Governor Ron DeSantis has consistently opposed face mask mandates in schools, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, including among school populations.

Concerned about the safety of students and staff, some school districts like Alachua and Broward counties have defied DeSantis’ ban and imposed mask mandates. As a response to this defiance, the Board of Education has empowered the state education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, to pursue legal actions against these counties. While the specific penalties are yet to be determined, suggestions include withholding funding and salaries, eliminating security personnel, and conducting thorough audits of the schools’ policies.

Corcoran stated that these measures are being considered to uphold “parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks.”

Some other Florida school districts have found ways to navigate around DeSantis’ ban by implementing mask mandates but allowing parents to opt out through a form. Hillsborough County employed this strategy but had to recommend quarantine for students and staff after a significant number of COVID-19 cases were reported in recent weeks.

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