The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to maintain the school district’s mask mandate that was originally approved July 28th.
After listening to 48 public speakers and reviewing more than 350 written comments from local residents, the board voted 8-1 to keep the mask mandate in place, allowing exceptions for health and safety concerns only, according to a news release from the school division. Broward County schools started school Tuesday. The school board said in its news release it “authorized the district’s interim general counsel and interim superintendent to retain outside counsel to evaluate and file legal action to challenge” DeSantis’ executive order.
“You can’t ignore this pandemic. It’s deadly, and it’s getting worse instead of better, and the more we don’t use masks, the more we position the mutation of this virus to grow,” said Rosalind Osgood, school board chair, during the special board meeting Tuesday. She later told CNN she’s not willing to “risk and play Russian roulette” with children who can’t get vaccinated.
Broward County defies DeSantis: Schools in Florida's second largest district will require all students to wear masks when classes begin next week.
The school board also decided to hire outside legal counsel to help challenge DeSantis' executive orders.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 11, 2021
Requests to opt out of the mask mandate “will be considered due to medical needs, Individual Education Plans or Section 504 accommodations,” the school division news release said.
In an act of defiance, the Broward County school board in Florida voted to mandate masks yesterday. Telling Ron DeathSantis to go f*ck himself is lovely. Good morning. ☕️
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) August 11, 2021
Several lawsuits have since been filed challenging the constitutionality of the executive order. Several school districts are considering mask mandates and a few have said masks will be required, with some opt-out exceptions. Other school districts that have defied DeSantis’ executive order and instituted a mask mandate include Leon County, which includes Tallahassee; Alachua County, which includes Gainesville; Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa; and Orange County, which includes Orlando. But in a new twist, the school board is now facing penalization for their decisions.
BREAKING: Florida Department of Education sent the Broward County Public School superintendent’s office and school board a letter informing them their paychecks may be withheld if they don't withdraw their school mask mandate by Friday.
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) August 10, 2021
Andrea Mitchell covered the continuing controversy in Florida on her show Wednesday morning. Watch the full segment, below.