August 12, 2021
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent the letters to Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Superintendents (see below).
He wrote to Desantis,"The safe return to in-person instruction requires that school districts be able to protect the health and safety of students and educators, and that families have confidence that their schools are doing everything possible to keep students healthy. Florida’s recent actions to block school districts from voluntarily adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts students and staff at risk. I am writing on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to emphasize the importance of allowing school district leaders to make decisions that ensure safety for their students. In particular, I am deeply concerned about Florida’s July 30 Executive Order prohibiting school districts from adopting universal masking policies consistent with CDC guidance."
He further stated, " . . . any threat by Florida to withhold salaries from superintendents and school board members who are working to protect students and educators (or to levy other financial penalties) can be addressed using ESSER funds at the sole and complete discretion of Florida school districts."
Cardona made it clear that there is no reason for OCPS leaders not to stand on the right side of history. Please take the time to email the school board members and the Superintendent (emails at this link) and request that they follow all CDC guidelines and mandate masks for all students and adults on OCPS property. They must also restore the essential CDC recommendations that they removed from the OCPS COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual to ensure safe and healthy schools for every student and employee.