2 of Florida’s biggest school districts relax on masks

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Two of Florida’s largest school districts are relaxing their mask requirements this week.

As of Monday, students in Orange County can stop wearing face masks if their parents provide a note disabling them. In Broward County, high school students can choose to wear a mask starting Monday, and this is strongly encouraged, but it will remain mandatory for middle and elementary school students.

The 60-day mask mandate for Orange County public schools expired on Saturday. Superintendent of Schools Barbara Jenkins said it would not be extended in part due to the “significant reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases in Orange County.”

District employees, parents and visitors must still wear face masks in schools, Jenkins said, a mandate likely to remain in place until Dec. 3, although that may change based on COVID-19 data, according to Orlando Sentry.

In Broward County, board members said current mask warrants and quarantine policies should remain in place for the lower classes until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available for them. children aged 5 to 11. The vaccine is already available for children 12 years of age and older.

“I don’t think it’s a very fair situation to put our young people and their families at risk,” said Nora Rupert, according to the Miami Herald.

Eight school districts have challenged Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order that only parents should decide whether their children wear masks, and not school district officials. The state imposed fines on Broward and Alachua County school districts equivalent to the annual salaries of school board members who voted for mask terms.

In response, the Biden administration sent $ 420,957 to Broward County Public Schools and $ 148,000 to Alachua County Public Schools to compensate for the fines.

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