Florida orders school boards to relax mask rules or take risks – Times of India

MIAMI: Florida officials are threatening to withhold funds equal to the salaries of school board members if the two county school districts do not immediately withdraw the strict mask order as the state continues to fight through high hospital admissions rates. School boards in Broward and Alachua counties received a warning from the state board of education on Friday to give all students 48 hours to reverse their decisions on the need for masks, with only doctor’s note holders exempted. Broward County has the second largest school district in the state.

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“We cannot choose which law government officials want to follow. It violates parental rights,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in an emailed statement.

Corcoran said the two districts are violating parental rights laws and Governor Ron de Santis in late July that enacted rules limiting how far districts can go with the need for masks.

The Republican governor has pressured the school district not to make masks compulsory for all students, instructing the state Department of Health and Education to allow parents to choose. Corcoran was recommended for the position by de Santis and was appointed by the State Board of Education in 201 Education.

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DeSantis maintains that masks can be detrimental to children’s development and that young children will not wear masks properly. But board members in Broward County, the home of Fort Lauderdale, and Alachua in Gainesville, have decided not to allow parents to easily get out of the mandate as lawsuits triggered by the Delta variant begin to put pressure on the hospital.

The state’s Department of Health’s weekly report said Florida’s total number of Covid-1 cases exceeded one million on Friday since the outbreak began. It reported 1,486 new deaths in one week, significantly increasing the seven-day average of daily deaths last week from 153 to 212.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the state continues to have the highest hospital admissions rate in the country, with Covid-1 with 16,849 patients – 3,500 of them in intensive care.

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Later Friday, Sarasota County became the sixth school district in the state to adopt a strict mask policy. The other two school districts হ Hillsborough and Palm Beach County প্রাথমিক initially started the school year so parents could easily refrain from wearing masks but tightened their arrangements this week. And in Miami-Dade County, the state’s largest district school board has adopted the same policy of allowing mask discounts only with a doctor’s note.

Due to the budget size of school districts, cuts are more symbolic than harmful. According to the Legislative Office Economic and Demographic Research, school board members in Alachua County earn $ 40,000 a year and Broward County $ 46,000. Alachua has a budget of about 30,000 students and a general fund of $ 258 million. Broward County has a budget of about 200,000 students and a 2.7 billion general fund.

Corcoran’s order requires that the school provide information on compensation to district school board members who voted to issue a strict order if they do not immediately reverse their decisions. It will begin cutting off the equivalent of their monthly salaries from state funds, prohibiting districts from deducting funds in other areas such as teachers ’salaries or student services.

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U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona spoke Friday with the superintendents of the two school districts and told them they should use the federal epidemic relief fund for any financial sanctions. President Joe Biden later expressed his support on Twitter.

“We will do everything we can to reopen local school districts safely. Funds from the American Rescue Plan can be used to refund the salaries of Florida school board members, superintendents and other educators to keep our children safe,” Biden said. Twitter.

Earlier in the day, Desantis attacked the Biden administration’s response, calling it “absolutely offensive” and the government’s “excessive use”.

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“Should the federal government come and abolish parental rights so they know better?” Desantis spoke at a news conference on Friday. “They want to bring parents to their knees and empower teachers’ unions.”

Rosalind Osgood, president of the Broward School Board, defended the board’s decision, saying the governor was “exceeding his authority.” In a statement, he said the district has asked its lawyers to investigate the legal challenges, promising to deliver on Friday’s order within hours as requested.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. On Thursday, a state judge cleared a three-day trial next week in a guardianship case challenging D-Santis.

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Speaking of dismissing the case, the governor’s lawyer argued that the governor’s order only upheld a law that gives parents the right to make healthcare decisions. There is no specific mention of masks in the law.

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