A Florida school board voted Wednesday to require all students and faculty to wear masks inside schools for the fall semester, a policy at odds with Gov. Ron DeSantis's stance against making face covers compulsory.
Broward County Public Schools decided to require masks during the fall semester following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks inside in regions where the virus is proliferating.
School board member Lori Alhadeff said she wanted to make the semester "as normal as possible" and originally supported making masks optional, but she changed her mind due to the rising cases of COVID-19 resulting from the highly transmissible delta variant, according to WLRN-TV.
DeSantis has been vehement in his opposition to policies requiring masks among residents.
"Our view is that this should absolutely not be imposed. It should not be mandated," the governor said during a COVID-19 roundtable meeting on Monday.
Citing the continued discussion about federal mask mandates in schools, DeSantis added on Monday that the Florida Legislature is geared to hold a special session to "provide protections for parents and kids who just want to breathe freely."
The Florida governor, who could be a 2024 presidential contender, has even released merchandise mocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a high-profile advocate of masking requirements.
"I am not looking for us to get ourselves in trouble over this mask issue," said school board member Donna Korn during the special meeting on Wednesday. The meeting had been planned for Tuesday but was rescheduled after concerned parents against masks showed up and refused to wear face coverings.
Board member Debbi Hixon said people had accused the CDC of "flip-flopping" on mask guidance, as the agency told the public in May that fully vaccinated people could go without face masks in most places.
"They weren't flip-flopping. They're using data and facts to make the best decisions for the time," Hixon said. "And I think that we have to do the same thing."
The Sunshine State reported 16,038 new cases of the virus on July 27, a sizable increase from the 12,775 cases reported one day before, CDC data showed. The state has also vaccinated roughly 50% of people in the state, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The Washington Examiner contacted Broward County Public Schools but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Florida school board to require masks in fall, defying DeSantis's stance