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Florida School District Defies Governor With Mask Mandate

Broward is requiring them, with opt-outs only for medical reasons
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2021 2:05 AM CDT
Broward School District Is Keeping Its Mask Mandate
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis answers questions related to school openings and the wearing of masks, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Surfside, Fla.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

(Newser) – Broward County is keeping its school district's mask mandate, despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threatening to punish districts that defy his ban on such mandates. The school board voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of keeping the mandate, which allows only for medical opt-outs, Local 10 reports. "We are charged and we were elected to keep everyone in our school building safe," said one board member. The board is seeking legal counsel and may challenge DeSantis' order, which the governor stood behind Tuesday. "It's about parental choice, not government mandate, and I think ultimately, parents will be able to exercise the choices that they deem appropriate for their kids," he said.

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Broward is the second-largest school district in Florida. Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he would consult with public health experts before a decision on masks is made, and would not be bullied by DeSantis' order, CBS Miami reports. School districts elsewhere in the state are requiring masks in defiance of the governor's ban, but as ABC News notes, most counties are allowing parents to opt out for any reason. Some districts in Texas are defying their own Republican governor's similar ban, Yahoo News reports. Based on population, Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas are leading the nation in new COVID infections, with Texas not too far behind. (Read more Florida stories.)

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