Duval County Colleges responds to Education Department’s mask mandate ultimatum

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a letter despatched to Education and learning Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Duval County University Board mentioned it selected to set in place a mask mandate for students with a health care opt out following 11 school district employees died and far more than 1,600 COVID-19 situations were documented in universities in excess of the very first three weeks.

The letter comes in reaction to a Friday correspondence from Corcoran warning that if the college district does not drop its “illegal” mask mandate the point out would slash funding.

The letter signed by Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene and faculty board chair Elizabeth Andersen argues the district is not in violation of an FDOE Unexpected emergency Rule that aimed to ban mask mandates in educational institutions.

“It was not and is not the intent of the DCSB to violate any lawful rule of the Board of Education and learning or the Division of Wellbeing. In fact, the DCSB’s Mask Policy complies with the Department of Health’s Unexpected emergency Rule,” the letter to Corcoran states. “As your letter correctly states, that rule needs an option for ‘a dad or mum or lawful guardian of the pupil to choose-out the pupil from carrying a experience masking or mask,’ and the DSCP Mask Policy does specifically this…The DOH rule does not point out the opt-out should be unlimited, or in any other case prevent schools from setting up parameters for the opt-out.”

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Duval was a single of 9 school districts to obtain detect from the Florida Department of Education and learning on Friday with threats to pull funding if they really do not repeal the recent mask mandate.

“Every university board member and each and every school superintendent have a responsibility to comply with the legislation, no matter whether they agree with it or not,” Training Commissioner Richard Corcoran explained in a memo to Alachua County Educational facilities.

According to DCPS, the mask adjust was needed in element for the reason that the Duval County Well being Department is not able to comprehensive get in touch with tracing on all of the positive situations arising in the district.

“As of August 23, 2021, the DCHD had only been ready to shut out 106 of the 895 circumstances,” the letter states. “Therefore, a major quantity of pupils and employees who were and are becoming exposed to COVID-19 are not currently being quarantined, which additional contributes to the rampant spread of COVID-19.”

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The district pointed to the testimony of reps from the Duval County Overall health Department, physicians from the nearby pediatric hospital, and several other accredited overall health care workers who have been adamant about the require for everybody to put on encounter coverings whilst inside a university or administrative creating.

“In the deal with of such testimony and the rapid and prevalent maximize in infections, the DCSB was compelled to just take motion to safeguard the health and fitness of learners and staff members and build the finest chance for our little ones to proceed in-human being training this university 12 months,” according to DCPS.

The Office introduced Monday that it had started withholding a part of point out resources from the school districts in Alachua and Broward Counties in reaction to their mask mandates, boasting that they breached the FDOE Unexpected emergency Rule.

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The condition threatened to withhold an total of funding every month equal to 1/12 of the collective salaries of the school board customers and quite possibly impose other sanctions.

In Alachua County’s response to the FDOE’s sanction, the superintendent stated, “The argument for this crisis rule contradicts the rule alone. If the intent of the crisis rule is to address the current increase in COVID-19 instances, the Section of Wellness need to be recommending protocols and strategies that lessen transmission somewhat than protecting against school districts from applying them.”

On Friday, circuit courtroom Judge John Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ purchase is unconstitutional and can not be enforced. The governor’s order gave mom and dad the sole right to determine if their little one wears a mask at faculty.

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The law “doesn’t ban mask mandates at all,” Cooper said through a two-hour listening to that was performed on-line mainly because of the resurgent pandemic. “It doesn’t require that a mask mandate will have to include things like a parental decide-out at all.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis has claimed the selection to mask students should really be remaining up to mother and father and reported he is confident the selection will be overturned on appeal.

“At the conclude of the day, you know, you can not choose away parents’ rights,” DeSantis mentioned Wednesday. “Parents do have the proper below Florida legislation to make those choices, eventually, and to opt out of any compelled specifications.”

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