The U.S. Department of Education is “deeply concerned” about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order seeking to ban school mask mandates and is ready to help districts directly, the federal agency said in a letter to the governor Friday.
“Florida’s recent actions to block school districts from voluntarily adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts students and staff at risk,” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote to DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
The letter also said President Joe Biden’s administration will work with school districts and educators directly if the Florida Department of Education does not distribute federal pandemic aid to the districts. Cardona wrote that the federal American Rescue Plan Act signed by Biden in March allocated some $7 billion to support Florida schools.
Florida has not submitted a plan to the federal government about how it intends to spend federal relief money earmarked for schools, though the issue is on the agenda for a State Board of Education meeting on Wednesday. Plans were due on June 7.
“In fact, it appears that Florida has prioritized threatening to withhold state funds from school districts that are working to reopen schools safely rather than protecting students and educators and getting school districts the federal pandemic recovery funds to which they are entitled,” Cardona said in the letter.
In a separate letter to Florida district superintendents Friday, Cardona wrote that the U.S. Department of Education “stands with you” in enacting universal student mask policies despite the state’s efforts to prohibit them.
Cardona’s letters came on the same day that a second Florida district said it will go against the state’s order that schools allow parents to opt out of student mask policies without citing particular reasons.
The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to enact an indoor mask requirement for students with exceptions only when parents submit doctors’ notes.
State education officials have argued the mandate violates a Florida Department of Health rule that helped carry out DeSantis’ July 30 executive order against mandatory masks. Corcoran wrote a letter Tuesday to Broward school officials demanding a response “documenting how your district is complying” with the health department rule.
Corcoran’s letter, in part, threatened to withhold funding to school districts “in an amount equal to the salaries for the superintendent and all the members of the school board” if the districts moved forward with requiring doctors’ notes.
In a response letter Friday, district officials argued that Broward schools are taking “prudent and responsible measures” to mitigate COVID- 19 with the mask requirement.
The district also contended that it is in compliance with the health department’s rule because students will be able to take off masks when eating, “actively participating in an indoor or outdoor practice or competition,” receiving necessary medical care or experiencing trouble breathing.
Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright and Broward School Board Chairwoman Rosalind Osgood, who signed the district’s response letter, said local hospitals have been “overwhelmed with new COVID-19 patients.”
The school officials also urged Corcoran to “seriously consider the appropriateness” of withholding funds to the district, arguing such a move would “represent a reduction to the general fund allocation and may impact services to students.”
The State Board of Education has scheduled an emergency meeting Tuesday “to consider the compliance of school districts, including Broward and Alachua” with the health department rule and a new state law known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” according to a notice of the meeting.
–Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida
Show me the studies that masks work.
Pierre Tristam says
This is getting so tiresome. But here. Again.
He won’t read it
It is getting tiresome, Pierre….sad that these willingly ignorant folks continue to believe lies. Those of us who took care to mask, distance, and get vaccinated are getting tired of catering to the “concerns” of those choosing to be ignorant. We’ve had 18 months of Covid, and for anyone who still claims they have “concerns”, most of which are based on provable lies and the tribal sense of not wanting to do anything that might look like following medical experts, it seems nothing will convince them.
If they were at least morally consistent, anyone who refused to be vaccinated for any of these bullshit reasons, really ought not be taking up space in ICUs begging for the vaccine they knowingly chose to refuse for a year.
Damn! E ffing nuff! Don’t wear a mask, when you get sick don’t go to a hospital and take up space.
Again, this administration tramples the consistition. I guess the 10th amendment does not matter or Supreme court decisions.
Pierre Tristam says
Ah yes. I can see DeSantis on the steps of the Capitol chanting that old states’ rights anthem of the free and the brave (the hell with the dead and bereaved): “Maskless today! Maskless tomorrow! Maskless forever!”
Then again the South has a long and still-worshipped history of killing its own.
Ray W. says
Justsayin keeps up the mantra of those who simply refuse to understand one of the most basic concepts of our Constitutional democracy. I have posted this before and I will keep posting it. As my father taught me before I went to law school, one of his first year law professors told the class that the most important thing they could learn in law school was that “the law is what a judge says it is on the day he or she says it, and don’t ever forget it.”
Justsayin is allowed to argue the law. He or she never gets to decide the law. Every time Justsayin or anyone else, including me, says: This is the law, they are wrong. They can say: This should be the law, or this used to be the law, or this is what I think the law is, but Justsayin doesn’t do that. Only judges can decide what the law is on the issue that is presented to the court. Every time a government official utilizes the law in a new way, people have the right to challenge that new use. When they get to court, they get to argue their position. When the judge rules, if the litigant disagrees with the ruling, he or she gets to appeal the decision. It is difficult for Justsayin to win a point when he starts with a losing position.
In this situation, if an administrative official announces a policy decision, Justsayin has the right to challenge it in court, if he or she has standing. Otherwise, Justsayin is only talking to hear his or her head roar. If a judge decides that the administrative position violates the 10th Amendment, only then Justsayin can say it was trampled, and not until then. Prior Supreme Court opinions offer precedential value and may be used to support the judge’s opinion, but they do not per se control the judge’s decision. If prior Supreme Court decisions controlled the law, our judges would be no more and no less than automatons. Obviously, multiple state legislatures have passed statutes to overturn Roe v. Wade for nearly 50 years now. Multiple state Attorney Generals have argued the issue to the Supreme Court. One day, a state may succeed. Maybe not.
I do give Justsayin credit for stating this is an administrative act. Since President Biden, like all presidents before him, delegates power to various administrative agencies and doesn’t get involved in every decision, anyone who says this is Biden’s decision might be off-base. I can tell you right now, Monday morning, some prosecutor will stand up in court and announce a decision that will affect multiple people. The idea that Mr. Larizza micromanages all 75 or so prosecutors in his office is absurd. Same for President Biden. Yes, the buck stops at Larizza’s desk, but that is why he entrusts his prosecutors with delegated power; he just can’t do it all himself.
Early in my father’s first term as the elected State Attorney, he successfully tried a major murder trial in St. Augustine. Awakening the next morning expecting to see the victory splashed on the front page above the fold, he was surprised to read that his Volusia County assistant had failed to appear in court the day before during a trial session. The headline (I paraphrase) was as follows: Prosecutor misses court. Judge tosses 30 cases. Bailiffs find prosecutor drunk in bar.
This story has two elements. First, under Florida’s old constitution system, the elected state attorney did not hire his assistants, the governor appointed them. The elected state attorney could not fire them, either. This system of gubernatorial patronage was but one of many reasons why Floridians adopted a whole new constitution in 1968 and another one in 1972. Second, in those days, trials were conducted during a term of court. Each new term, the trial judge would call the first case on the docket. If it pled out, was continued, or was dropped, the second case would be called. If it took two months to try every case on the docket, it took two months. Jurors were rounded up for each new trial. If the first case went to trial, a jury was selected and it went to trial. Once a verdict was reached, the second case on the docket was called. A modified system was still in use when I tried my first jury trial. I had about twenty cases set for trial. The judge lined up the three cases that actually made it to trial posture that week. When the first jury went out to deliberate, a new jury panel was called into the courtroom and we began selecting the jury for the second trial. When the verdict was reached, the second jury selection process was paused and resumed after the verdict was announced. Jurors were called in for the week, not for the day. In my father’s instance, lacking a prosecutor in court, the defense attorney announced ready for trial. The trial judge called out the prosecutor’s name. Hearing nothing, he asked the defense attorney if he had an oral motion for the court. The defense attorney moved to dismiss the case. The trial judge granted the motion. Calling the next case, it was dismissed on the defense attorney’s motion. Calling the next case, the same, until the entire docket was called and every remaining case was dismissed. Then, the bailiff’s went looking for the prosecutor.
DeSantis should go to jail for murder. This is disgraceful.
Wake up Red States, Anti-vaxxer and Anti-maskers. Viruses could care less about your politics.
America and Americans need to take a look at what is happening in Indonesia. Indonesia, with 270 million people, has vaccinated 14.6% of its population. The Delta variant is and has taken a heavy toll on those who have not been vaccinated. Patients who have become infected are turned away and sent home without proper medical care due to the lack of beds in many hospitals, which has exacerbated the spread of the Delta variant.
He is right, parents have the say so about their children wearing masks. We have the right to vote him and the repubs out if office. We can do that but will we. Remember he is a weak Trump puppet, just saying.
DeSanti’s kids probably go to private school and are well guarded by secret service or whatever they call it, so he doesn’t worry about his kids being safe and therefore, could really care less about the rest of the people. So what we have is a governor who sees nothing wrong with giving parents the right to decide whether their kid wears a mask or not. The ones that are against masks, and are anti vaxxers don’t care about infecting others either. They think it’s okay to spread the germ around and make others sick and maybe die and to heck with anything else. However, more and more people are now getting vaccinated. which is good, but won’t be partially immune for 2 weeks, then get another shot and will be fully immune 2 weeks from that. So that still makes 5 or 6 weeks until they are “safe”. We are in for a long bout of this virus because of people’s attitude. And as soon as things quiet down somewhat, people will increase their travel over holidays, attend parties and events, etc. not be vaccinated or wear a mask and the surges will start all over again. Maybe some of the people who think the virus is overhyped will get the virus and not even be here over the holidays. Maybe they have children and or grandchildren that won’t be either.
I agree, people have the absolute right to make their own decisions about certain things, but not the ethical right to endanger others with illness. Just like people have a right to make the decision to smoke but not the ethical right to do it around others that will breathe in that smoke and get bad lung diseases later on.
John West says
Just a FYI your not immune when you take the experimental vaccine
DeSantis like Trump has failed to follow the real science and will lose any attempt to be elected President. He failed the school system, the parents that actually care about their children’s welfare and health and the medical community. He pretty much has nails in his coffin already. All he had to do is listen to plain old common sense and do what people wanted not want he felt Trump would have done as that killed Trumps re-election chances. Dictator DeSantis is stuck in a no win situation. OH PS, mask do work if you wear them correctly and wash the hands and the vaccine will keep you alive if you collect the virus from some anti-vaxer.
John West says
Again vaccinated people still catch and spread the covid. Stop spreading fear and hate.
Grateful that somebody is showing some sense and support for those trying to reduce the spread of this disease. Such a shame we have a so called “leader” unwilling to do the same.
OK. . . Pierre won’t say this, but I will: Why in the hell should the owner and editor of Flaglerlive, or “anyone” have to look up for anyone over, and over, and over again the FACTS that vast majority of “medical experts” have PROVEN that masks (worn properly) are essential in stopping/slowing down the “massive” spread of a lethal pandemic? Please, do us all a favor and get your head out of FOX (not news), Facebook, OAN, and Newsmax, etc. Take the time to do your “own” research on “credible” news outlets like the Associated Press, PBS, even the BBC.
If you still refuse to believe the factual data from medical experts about vaccines and masks, please stay at home, keep your warped mind and likely diseased body away from us and let the rest of us get on with our lives. Also, please refrain from posting your illiterate and politically charged demands on this site. The educated, reasonable readers here are sick, sick, sick of the pathetic BS!
Karen Curry says
What she 🙄👆 (Sherry) said ✊🎯😘!!!
John West says
Again with the hate calling for violence against non vaccinated.
Ok, glad to hear this. Also, Biden has announced he is going to make up for the funding losses incurred by any school system that did the right thing and defied Deathsantis’ threats.
So, tell me, has our Superintendent announced a mask mandate for all students, teachers and staff on school property? 🦗🦗🦗
Do they lack the fortitude and courage to protect the children and staff at school? Just gonna sit back and succumb to Q conspiracy theories and backward thinking parents? The American Academy of Pediatrics has spoken. Our own Clinic Chief has spoken. The CEO of our local hospital has spoken. The WHO has spoken. The CDC has spoken. But hey, let’s just do what Martha’s cousins husband read in a facebook meme instead of listening to science.
This town’s got more dumb people than one single place on the map should be allowed.