Miami-Dade schools’ masks on buses requirement might not ride with Gov. DeSantis order

Coronavirus school reopening concept. A boy student stands in front of school bus wearing a face mask and backpack with stop sign clearly visible.
An executive order could supersede the local rule.

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ order prohibiting schools from mandating children wear masks at school has potentially upended Miami-Dade schools’ requirement that students wear masks on the school bus.

DeSantis issued an order Friday saying schools risked losing state funding if parents were not allowed to make the decision about whether their children were masked.

The order has been widely interpreted as giving parents the right to ignore any local mask mandates. The Governor’s Office said Monday more specifics, such as whether the order includes buses, will be coming out of the Department of Health and the Department of Education soon, however.

The Broward County School Board is backtracking on its Wednesday vote to require students to wear face coverings at school. The school mask mandate, the only one in the state, was still up on its website Monday. But the school district released a statement Monday saying that the district intends to comply with the Governor’s latest executive order.

Miami-Dade schools released a statement Monday from school Superintendent Alberto Carvalho saying a meeting with the district’s medical and public health task force is being planned to discuss recent events.

“In light of the release of the Governor’s executive order, we certainly hope to be able to craft protocols that ensure full funding of our children’s education, while simultaneously protecting their and their teachers’ health and well-being,” Carvalho said in the statement.

A recent spike in COVID-19 lead Florida on Sunday to break a previous record for current hospitalizations for COVID-19, with 10,207 people hospitalized with a confirmed case, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The previous record was set about a year ago, on July 23, 2020. On that day, 10,170 hospitalized people were confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

Local municipalities began requiring that all visitors and employees at government-run buildings cover their face as July came to a close.

Miami-Dade schools are expecting to open for in-person schooling on Aug. 23. The district announced social distancing in cafeterias, increased cleaning and sanitation, air purifiers and HVAC systems operating before and after school to maximize airflow.

Broward schools’ website says the district is planning to open in-person schooling on Aug. 18. Students will sit with 3 feet of distance in classrooms. Two nurses will be at every school to offer voluntary COVID-19 tests when schools re-open.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • Andrew Finn

    August 2, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    They need to tell Emperor DeSantis where to stick it and do what’s right and safe – not what the “Tallahassee Fuhrer” says. He is no doctor, and only a governor by title.

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