Florida sends Brevard school board 48-hour notice to comply with mask mandate rules

Brevard, Orange, 6 other districts found not in compliance with state mask rules

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, file photo, students, some wearing protective masks, arrive for the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School in Riverview, Fla. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) (Chris O'Meara, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Board of Education has sent a formal notice to the Brevard County School Board, giving the district 48 hours to comply with state student mask mandate rules or be penalized financially.

Brevard County Public Schools said it received the letter Tuesday afternoon. Last week, the state board found eight school districts, including Brevard and Orange counties, were not in compliance with the mask requirements set forth by the state that prioritizes parents’ decisions to opt out their child from mask mandates.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

The Florida Department of Health issued a revised rule last month that continues to require that parents be able to opt students out of school-mask requirements, including a change that takes aim at some school districts that only allow opt-outs for documented medical reasons. That change says opting out of mask requirements is “at the parent or legal guardian’s sole discretion.”

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran recommended that if the school boards do not comply once they are given the 48-hour notice, then they would be penalized financially in an amount equal to the monthly salaries of board members.

“If the School Board of Brevard County fails to timely document compliance within 48 hours from receipt of this order, the School Board of Brevard County must provide to the Commissioner of Education, no later than 48 hours after receipt of this order, information confirming the current annual compensation provided to all school board members,” the letter to the Brevard County School Board reads.

The Brevard County School Board approved a policy last week that would give parents the choice to opt-out their children from the mandate only if COVID-19 spread lessens. According to the school board, the modified mask mandate would only occur when community spread dips to 50 cases per 100,000. The new rule must be authorized by Brevard County Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins.

Orange County Public Schools has a universal mask mandate in place through October. Orange County received their 48-star notice Tuesday afternoon as well.

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.