JACKSONVILLE – Duval County Public Schools are among a handful of school boards suing the Florida Department of Health for asking school districts to let parents choose their children not to wear masks.
DCPS principals claim they have the power to impose masks in schools. Currently, DCPS is subject to a 90-day mask mandate. A student can only refuse to wear masks with a doctor’s note.
Action News Jax spoke to local parents. Two mothers both feel safe sending their children to school during the pandemic, but they have different opinions on who should decide if their children are in masquerade.
“What they do with the mask mandate is give my son the barrier, or the security he needs, and the peace of mind that I need whenever he is in the house. school, ”said Roma Rose Furbish.
Furbish thinks teachers are like “second parents” when kids are in school. She says principals know what’s best for them. But Stacey Lai believes parents should decide to mask their children, adding that she doesn’t think masks are that useful.
“They don’t wear them properly. My son is going home and he’s soaked in drool, he’s been on a playground and it’s dirty, so I feel like it’s aimless, ”Lai said.
The Florida Department of Health maintains that parents like Lai have the right to refuse their children to wear masks.
DCPS and a handful of other school boards are challenging the health service in a lawsuit.
And Thursday, the Florida Board of Education discussed punishing 11 school districts – including DCPS – which have mask mandates. Hillsborough, Sarasota and Indian River counties had been sanctioned but were removed from the state council’s list after officials voted to repeal mask requirements this week.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) has authorized Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to financially sanction the salaries of elected school board members in eight school districts, including Duval.
School Board President Elizabeth Andersen and Superintendent Diana Greene released a joint statement on the action of the Florida State Board of Education on Thursday:
“We have a responsibility, as constitutional officers, to ensure that public schools in Duval County provide a safe learning environment for all students. While we are cautiously optimistic about trends in community transmission in Duval County, we must remain vigilant in fulfilling this responsibility.
“The result of the action of the Council of State today was expected; it was just another action in a series of events that made our school board feel compelled to join the petition filed with the Administrative Hearings Division. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case in this forum. “
Some families in other districts of Florida who do not have a warrant want it.
“I miss socializing with my friends,” Reefy Kinder said.
The nine-year-old has had 30 surgeries in six years, leaving her immunocompromised.
His parents and doctor decided not to send him to school in person this year because there is no mask warrant in their county.
“It was too dangerous, if you ask me, for the other kids to come in without a mask, let alone an immunocompromised child,” Jamie Kinder said.
The Kinders are 10 other families who are part of a federal lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis, the State Department of Education and several school districts. He alleges that an executive order from DeSantis banning mask warrants violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Reefy will have to stay home until there is a mask warrant, or until she can get the shot.
An FDA advisory committee will meet on October 26 to discuss vaccines for children ages 5 to 11. This means that vaccines could be offered to them around Halloween or early November.
A DCPS spokesperson told Action News Jax on Thursday that he declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing “ongoing litigation.”
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