Florida school district defies DeSantis, issues mask mandate due to COVID-19 surge

Alachua County requiring masks for first 2 weeks of school

Orange County School Board meets as CDC reverses mask guidance

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Despite a Florida executive order banning mask mandates in schools, one Florida school district is moving forward with mask requirements due to “dramatic increases” in COVID-19 cases.

The school board in Alachua County, north of Marion County, voted Tuesday night to make face coverings mandatory for students the first two weeks of school, citing the dramatic surge in cases in the state.

[TRENDING: DeSantis: We are not shutting down | 3,000 Spirit Airlines flights canceled or delayed | Turtle crashes through car windshield]

The district’s new rule goes against an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans school districts from mandating masks. The governor signed the executive order Friday, directing state departments to give parents the final say on whether their children should wear masks in school.

In light of dramatic increases in local COVID cases and hospitalizations, including among children, the School Board has...

Posted by Alachua County Public Schools on Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The governor has threatened to pull state funding from any district that doesn’t follow his order. The Alachua County Public Schools vote comes as the Broward County school board reversed its decision to require face coverings after the governor’s executive order and threats. Initially, the Broward school board updated its mask requirements when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its mask recommendations last week.

The Florida Education Association released a statement Wednesday praising the district’s move to require masks along with Duval County in Jacksonville.

“Since school districts have not been provided the tools they need from the state level, school boards and superintendents are turning to trusted medical professionals in their communities and listening to those voices as they decide how to to start the upcoming school year,” the statement said in part.

All Central Florida counties say as of right now masks will be optional when classes start despite calls from some parents to change that.

[VIDEO BELOW: News 6 hosts back-to-school town hall]

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.