MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — It was the first day of school in many parts of Florida. The focus there, like in many parts of the country, is on masks.
Palm Beach County Schools is defying the state ban on mask mandates and requiring all students and staff wear them for at least the next 30 days.
Superintendent Michael Burke says the vast majority of kids showed up Tuesday in masks. Despite the school’s mask requirement, they have to offer an opt-out because of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban.
“We have worn these for over a year,” said Burke. “So I don’t think it was that big of a deal to go for another 30 days to hopefully give our community some time to get the spread down.”
Florida is one of eight states banning mask requirements in schools. Ten states are doing the opposite and requiring masks. The debate is ongoing in school board meetings from coast to coast.
In Dallas and Bexar County, Texas, school districts are asking courts to throw out their governor’s mask mandate ban.
In Florida, the battle is getting so intense DeSantis has threatened to withhold school board members’ and superintendents’ pay if they require masks.
“We are going to do whatever we can to vindicate the rights of parents and make sure parents are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the health and welfare of their kids,” said DeSantis.
Broward County Schools, one of the biggest districts in the state, voted to defy the governor and have a mask mandate.
The White House says it could use federal funds to repay some of the salaries if the governor cuts them. Several Florida Democrats also started GoFundMe accounts Tuesday to pay school leaders if salaries get cut.
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