Deadline looms for Florida school districts with mask warrants to respond to petition



ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – The debate over masks in classrooms continues as school districts that violate the governor’s ban on mask warrants without opt-out options must now defend themselves.

Last week, the Florida Department of Health filed a petition with an appeals court to force schools to follow the rules. Public schools in Orange County, as well as school districts in Broward, Alachua and Miami-Dade counties, all of which have mask mandates, have been ordered to respond to the state’s petition by 5 p.m. Monday.

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State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith discussed the school mask warrants with News 6 Morning host Justin Warmoth during “The Weekly.”

“We must do all we can to protect our children, our teachers and the rest of us from this deadly virus which has already killed 52,000 Floridians,” Smith said.

Smith added that districts must take every precaution to keep schools safe.

“We cannot take any tool off the table to try to mitigate the spread of disease and mitigate the spread of this deadly virus,” Smith said.

It comes after an appeals court reinstated the governor’s ban on mask warrants for students earlier this month.

Florida’s new surgeon general last week released a revised rule that changes quarantine guidelines. It gives parents the power to decide whether children go to school after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

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“The idea that a parent can now decide as long as their child is asymptomatic to send their child back to school so that they can infect others is totally unwise,” Smith said.

The current Orange County schools mask requirement extends through October 30. Although Brevard County is not in the petition, last week the district voted to extend his mask term with no opt-out option for at least an additional month.

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