The Florida Board of Education (BOE) is considering a proposal to allow families to use their own tax dollars as school vouchers so they can transfer their children out of school districts requiring COVID-related procedures.
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its tune once again and is recommending face masks for all children in K-12 schools, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools.
Yet, multiple school districts in Florida are working to implement mask mandates, regardless.
According to the public document detailing the proposal, the BOE will be considering whether or not to move forward with the Hope Scholarship, which provides a way for students to transfer to a school more in line with the family’s needs and preferences.
BOE will consider: “Emergency Rule 6AER21-02, COVID-19 Hope Scholarship Transfer Procedures, provides parents with a mechanism to transfer a child to a private school or another school district under a Hope Scholarship when a school district’s COVID-19 health protocols, including masking, pose a health or educational danger to their child.”
The Department of Education, which crafted the proposal, continued by saying the adverse effects of the COVID protocols could lead to performance issues in the classroom and even public health.
“The agency finds that the potential for student learning loss and educational disruption with schools starting next week, creates an immediate danger to the public health, safety and welfare of students and requires emergency action,” says the proposal.
The proposal includes a specific notation that the BOE will not be considering masking, which will be left to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
DeSantis has also vowed to fight districts that do implement mask mandates by threatening funding, as stated in the executive order.
It said that “if the State Board of Education determines that a district school board is unwilling or unable to comply with the law, the State Board shall have the authority to, among other things, withhold the transfer of state funds, discretionary grant funds … and declare the school district ineligible for competitive grants.”
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