Brevard County schools to address masks again after DOE votes to sanction district

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Officials at Brevard County schools are still ordering students to wear face coverings, now the Florida Department of Education is prepared to penalize the district.

Brevard County School Board Chair Misty Belford argued to the DOE on Thursday that the district’s mandate is ‘reasonable’ and ‘necessary.’

Belford called the impact of the virus in Brevard County schools a ‘crisis,’ but the state board still voted to impose sanctions against the school district.

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The mask policy will be on the school board’s agenda at a meeting Tuesday.

Board members will discuss the potential loss of district funding and their salaries.

‘’It’s something that we knew was coming,’’ vice chair Matt Susin said about the DOE decision.

Unlike Belford, Susin argues the mandate is unlawful.

He voted against ordering face coverings since the start of the school year.

‘’I don’t feel any gratitude or anything better,’’ Susin said. ‘’It’s our school district and we’re in a position right now where we are losing funding over it.’’

A spokesperson Friday said the district did not receive the state letter yet ordering Brevard Public Schools to follow its rules within 48-hours or suffer the penalties.

The district’s mask policy does allow the potential for a parent opt-out if the community spread of the virus dips to 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Brevard County’s health department Friday gave an encouraging update.

‘’We’ve dropped from a community of high transmission to one of substantial transmission so I’m expecting we’ll be below the 100 cases per 100,000,’’ Community Health Director John Davis said.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.