October 7 2021
The Florida State Board Of Education met today at 1:00pm.
(https://www.fldoe.org/policy/state-board-of-edu/meetings/2021/2021-10-07/). The meeting was an orchestrated political show. Callers in favor of masks were rudely cut off by the chair and told that they were not following the agenda. There was only one item on their agenda, which was: “Consideration of Probable Cause for Noncompliance with Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-15, Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings” for Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, and Sarasota.
Each District Superintendent , including OCPS Superintendent Dr. Jenkins, spoke to the board's decision to find the school Districts in noncompliance. For each agenda item, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran read a motion to find each school district out of compliance with the state's rule to allow parents the right to opt out on their child wearing a mask to school. The politically-appointed members of the board all unanimously agreed with the motion each time it was read.
Yesterday, I was interviewed by NPR regarding today’s State Education Board meeting: https://www.wmfe.org/orange-county-cta-president-to-board-of-education-let-districts-keep-mask-mandates-in-place-without-penalties/191335 . With no vaccine for children under age 12; no social distancing possible in crowded schools and classrooms; high positivity rates continuing; and former CDC-recommendations not being in place or enforced this school year, universal masking is essential.
It is unfortunate that the Governor DeSantis, DOE Commissioner Corcoran and the politically appointed members of the Florida State School Board push a dangerous political agenda rather than to enact policies that will protect the health and lives of Florida’s children, school employees and community members.
More Mask News
Orange County District leaders reportedly admit mask mandates have played a role in reducing COVID-19 cases, according to a story on Channel 9:
At a meeting on Thursday, Orange County Public School leaders said they have seen a drastic drop in COVID-19 cases.
"A doctor on the OCPS medical advisory committee said the evidence is indisputable.
“Masks work and masks are an integral and important part of the layering protection that you can provide children in schools,” Dr. Michael Muszynski said.
The mask mandate for Orange County schools is set to expire at the end of the month. Most members of the medical advisory committee called for the policy to stay until cases get to safer levels."
On August 2nd, CTA proposed a universal mask mandate as part of our proposed memorandum of understanding presented at the bargaining table. The District rejected our mask proposal and other essential CDC-recommended protocols that are necessary to protect students and employees during a pandemic. Imagine how many infected students and teachers could have been spared from contracting COVID-19 had the District taken the needed precautions when the union proposed them?
The District leaders must own the off-the-chart positive COVID-19 case numbers we saw in the first months of this school year. In fact, while districts like Miami-Dade and Broward kept their COVID-19 cases numbers in the 2,000's, the OCPS COVID case numbers for August and September this school year (7,015) exceeded the total number of COVID-19 cases for the entire school year last year -August 2020 to the end of May 2021 (6,970 cases). Every control-seeking, uncollaborative OCPS District leader is responsible for the in-school spread, the illness, the suffering and possible deaths (unlike other school districts, OCPS hides the deaths of students and employees) that could have been prevented.