Flagler County’s weekly case load fell from a pandemic high of 936 last week to 789 this week, as of today, still the second-highest total of the 20-month crisis. Nearly half the total number of infections is among students and employees of Flagler County schools.
Flagler County School Board
The Flagler County school district has the third-highest rate of Covid infections among students and staff out of 38 Florida school districts that are reporting their Covid numbers since the resumption of the school year less than four weeks ago, a FlaglerLive analysis finds. There is still no “appetite” for changing course and adopting a mask mandate, according to the school board member who tried enacting one two weeks ago, though data points to a direct correlation between masks and lower infection rates in Florida districts.
The Mednexus Innovation Challenge is a competition that encourages high school students to participate in designing ideas for the future of healthcare through purpose-driven education and to apply innovation, science and technology to solve real state/local healthcare challenges.
Judge John Cooper of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court of Florida ruled today that Gov. Ron DeSantis had no legal authority under the recently-enacted Parental Bill of Rights to prohibit local school boards from adopting mask mandates that did not include opt-out provisions. The judge found DeSantis’s order “capricious” and not based in evidence, but rather based on an incomplete reading of the Bill of Rights.
Flagler County is in the worst public health crisis it has known in its history, with at least 10 covid deaths a week as many school infections in 3 weeks as all of last year combined, yet the debate remains immobilized by a war on masks that defies science and daily grim realities.
Florida House Rep. Anthony Sabatini wrote a letter to Flagler Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt and the school board today falsely claiming Indian Trails Middle School students are “being deprived of their right to a public school education,” and building on fabrications about the illegal quarantining of a child at Indian Trails Middle School that began pinballing around local social media pages last week.
The district’s dress code is irrational, outdated, unfair and sexist. It limits individual expression, and it’s an utter waste of time, argues Jack Petocz, a junior at Flagler Palm Coast High School who calls on the school board to listen to students’ concerns and revise the code.
School Board member Janet McDonald called for what would have been an unlawful, closed-door meeting to review the school board attorney’s contract, then called for any special meeting to review last Tuesday’s meeting, when the chamber had to be cleared because of the crowd’s rule-breaking. Two board members–Colleen Conklin and Cheryl Massaro–responded with withering criticism of their colleague.
The school board in a series of unanimous votes Tuesday approved a doubling in school impact fees, the one-time levy imposed on new construction and designed to defray the cost of new schools required by a growing population. The “huge deal,” in the words of Board Attorney Kristy Gavin, will increase the single-family home impact fee from $3,600 to $7,175.
The case of a parent’s reaction to her son at Indian Trails Middle School being required to quarantine for at least four days illustrates how easily inaccurate information is misused to politically tendentious ends–it’s led to a call for a showdown before the school board this evening–or inflated into non-existent problems or false claims.