A letter from the FL State Board of Education to the Orange County School Board gave the District 48 hours to comply with the FL Department of Health's September 22, 2021 Emergency Rule that allows a child's parent the right to opt out of a school mask mandate and allows parents to decide whether or not to quarantine a COVID-19 positive, asymptomatic child. (You heard this right - the DOH says COVID-19 positive kids can show up in school.)
CTA President Wendy Doromal said she expected this outcome:
"Other counties which also have mask mandates to protect school students and employees already received the same letter. The State School Board meeting held last month o rule on withholding funds from noncompliant districts was a sham. The politically appointed board members and politically appointed Dept. of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran predetermined that school districts would be found noncompliant before the orchestrated meeting began.
I agree with the medical experts who call for a mask mandate to remain in place, especially since children under age 12 are not yet eligible for a vaccine. We hope the OCPS leaders will continue the universal mask mandate as long as it is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 in OCPS school and worksites."
(Read more about the State Board of Education meeting at this link. )
"Brevard County lawmaker Randy Fine said he supports the state’s threat.
“I agree with it and I hope they do more,” Fine said. “We have a lawless school board that is suspending and expelling children for refusing to follow an illegal law when the school board itself won’t follow the law. It’s disgusting.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Orange County teachers’ union Wendy Doromal disagrees.
“They’re just pushing a political agenda. We expected that to happen. We just hope school board members continue the mask mandate. We think they have the integrity to do that,” Doromal said. “It’s very unfortunate that we have elected officials that put their politics ahead of people’s health and safety.”
There is a question about whether the Florida Dept. of Health has the authority to make a rule concerning school district regulations. Under Florida law school districts have to provide safe and healthy learning and working conditions.
We await the District's response.
Letter from the State Board of Education: