There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the decision of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to bank mask mandates in public schools, which are largely seen as effective at reducing the risk of transmission. The Governor argues that it is a violation of the right of parents to choose, while proponents of the mask mandate argue it is necessary for ensuring the safety of other children, parents, and vulnerable populations during a time when the Delta variant continues to spread.
A recent court ruling found that the Governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools was unlawful, but school officials said they would continue to support the Governor’s mask ban despite the court ruling. Schools that enforce a mask mandate against the orders of the Governor face financial penalties from the state, with some schools districts already experiencing these financial penalties.
Those counties that have been hit by these state-levied financial penalties have said they will comply with the financial hits, but that the mask mandate is staying in place. Officials say that the health and safety of children, teachers, and those in the community are more important than the financial penalties.
Already a dozen districts have stated that they are defying the orders of the Governor. While they might face financial penalties, it is possible that these districts might start to receive financial support in the form of CARES dollars from the Federal government, which might offset some of the losses these districts are facing at the hands of state penalties.
Even though the court ruling is likely to go into effect soon, Governor Ron DeSantis has continued to dig in, defending his ban during recent press conferences. He has stated that he is appealing the ban and is confident that he will win, saying that parents should have the right to choose whether to ask their kids to wear masks. He claims that he is standing with parents, while school districts instituting mask mandates state they are placing the health, safety, kids and parents first.
The court ruling, and the enforcement of mask mandates, has the potential to set important precedents as Delta cases continue to rise and politicians look for answers.