Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said he felt concerned about striking a balance between protecting Miami-Dade’s school district and following Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ orders.
What We Know:
- On July 30, DeSantis signed an executive order which prohibits the implementation of mask mandates in schools. The Florida governor said students have suffered because of mask policies and that it was “prudent” to protect parents’ ability to decide whether or not their child wears a mask. Furthermore, in a Monday meeting, DeSantis claimed that putting masks on children can “negatively impact” their learning, speech, emotional and social development, and physical health. However, he did not provide any evidence that this actually happens.
- DeSantis’ move comes after states, municipalities, and school districts begin to re-evaluate their mask policies in accordance with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines; CDC officials recommend that all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- The Miami-Dade School District declared they would re-evaluate their mask-optional policy and release their final decision two weeks before school starts. But DeSantis’ declared if the State Board of Education sees a school district board is unwilling to comply with his order, it will withhold the transfer of state funds, discretionary grant funds, or discretionary lottery funds. In addition, the board may deem a school ineligible for competitive grants.
- In response, Carvalho stated that the District hopes to craft protocols that will guarantee they receive grants while also protecting teacher’s and students’ well-being.
- DeSantis made his decision while Florida experiences a spike in coronavirus cases. Due to the highly contagious Delta variant, cases jumped by 50% since last week. Alongside this, Florida hospitals face issues treating patients with the virus, as most are operating overcapacity.
Although the state is becoming the U.S.’ epicenter for the pandemic, DeSantis also reported he would not put Florida under another lockdown or force people to take the vaccine.