The Broward County School Board on Tuesday voted 8-1 to retain its mask mandate for students and staff members, defying Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) executive order forcing school districts to make masks optional.
The Fort Lauderdale school board is seeking legal counsel to challenge the executive order, which it claims represents government overreach, according to WPLG.
“Wearing masks inside schools regardless of vaccine status is required to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission. It is a necessary precaution until children under 12 can receive a COVID-19 vaccination and more Americans 12 and older get vaccinated,” Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, said in a statement after the board’s vote.
Protestors on both sides of the debate over a mask requirement showed up outside the building with signs during the members’ meeting on Tuesday.
Broward County first voted in July to require students, staff and visitors to wear masks inside its schools before DeSantis issued the executive order, which also threatens to take away funding from districts that impose mask mandate on students, WPLG noted.
Broward County joins Leon and Alachua counties, whose school superintendents have also come forward with plans to enforce mask mandates, in defying the governor’s order.
DeSantis’s executive order received its first legal challenges Friday when two lawsuits were filed challenging its constitutionality.
Florida is currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations due to the delta variant, putting in a request last week for 300 additional ventilators from the federal government.