Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order to prevent children from wearing masks in school, several of the state’s largest school districts continue to defy the policy.
On Wednesday, both Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties adopted a mask mandate for students, which requires a doctor’s note in order to “opt-out” of the policy.
The new mask mandates come a day after the Florida Board of Education held both Broward and Alachua county in contempt of the governor’s order.
The board members seemed to show most concern with the requirement of a medical professional signing off in order for a student to not be required to wear a mask.
As of Wednesday, the board has not called an emergency meeting to dispute any district that is allowing for parents to opt out, which is the policy adopted by Orange County Public Schools.
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he supports facial coverings after hearing from a medical task force.
“For the consequences associated with doing the right thing, whatever that right thing is, I will wear that proudly as a badge of honor,” Carvalho said.
On Wednesday night’s episode of “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel, DeSantis claimed President Joe Biden is focused on the wrong issues as national security issues continue to become tenser in Afghanistan.
“You got to wonder, where are your priorities that you’re so obsessed with this issue and so obsessed with taking away parents’ rights and your letting Afghanistan burn, our border burn and so many other things and our country fall to pieces,” Desantis said.
The Florida Board of Education Vice-Chair Ben Gibson said superintendents should not be allowed to create their own rules.
“Parents, and not the government, should be empowered to make healthcare decisions for their children,” Gibson said.
DeSantis appeared to be responding to President Joe Biden’s Wednesday announcement, instructing the U.S. Secretary of Education to investigate governors who retaliate against school districts with mask policies.
“For example, for the governor who wants to cut the pay of a hardworking education leader who requires masks in the classroom, the money from the American Rescue Plan can be used to pay that person’s salary, 100 percent,” Biden said.
As of Wednesday, all Central Florida school districts with mask mandates, allow for a parent to opt-out, not requiring a physician’s involvement.
Orange County Public Schools said only about 5% of parents of its 210,000 students have “opted-out” of the mask policy.