The chairwoman of the Broward County Faculty Board in Florida mentioned on Sunday that the district had no alternative however to defy Gov. Ron DeSantis’s ban on masks mandates.
“We’re dwelling out the nightmare of the Covid pandemic, the place so many individuals in our county, together with members of our employees and others, are being impacted,” mentioned Rosalind Osgood, who heads the varsity board, on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Florida’s circumstances are hovering. The state reported a seven-day rolling common of 21,706 new day by day circumstances on Saturday amid the worst surge of the pandemic. Deaths and hospitalizations are spiking, but the variety of assessments administered has decreased.
Broward County has misplaced two academics and an academic assistant to problems from Covid-19, Dr. Osgood mentioned. The varsity board imposed a masks mandate for college kids, employees members and guests; a physician’s observe is required for pupil exemptions.
“We consider that we’ve a constitutional obligation to guard the lives of our college students and employees,” Dr. Osgood mentioned.
After Mr. DeSantis threatened to withhold faculty funds, the Biden administration stepped in. Officers mentioned they supported the masks mandate and would permit the colleges to make use of funds from pandemic aid measures to exchange the salaries.
“It was very encouraging to get the help of the White Home throughout this very, very tough time that we discover ourselves in,” Dr. Osgood mentioned.
Educators in Florida are conscious of the damaging influence of a lot time away from in-person education for a lot of college students, together with psychological well being dangers and declining educational efficiency, she mentioned. That made the masks mandate all of the extra necessary, together with on-site testing measures, vaccination entry and air filtration.
“We’ve been working extraordinarily exhausting to place these in place, and we’re not going to threat their lives by permitting it to be non-obligatory,” Dr. Osgood mentioned.
Different states have imposed comparable bans on masks mandates. Lately, the Arkansas governor mentioned he regretted approving such a ban and hamstringing faculties’ capacity to guard college students below 12, who can not but be vaccinated.