Alachua County Officials’ Request to Impose Mask Mandates Rejected by University of Florida and Santa Fe College

Alachua County officials have called upon the University of Florida (UF) and Santa Fe College (SFC) to mandate masks for all students, faculty, and staff. The higher education institutions have rejected the request from the county commissioners.

Alachua County sent a letter to UF and SFC, located within Alachua County, last week asking them to join the county, the county school board, and the City of Gainesville in an effort to be of one accord in mandating masks.

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Appeal Court Reinstates Mask Mandate Ban

In another step in the saga between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and local school districts, the 1st District Court of Appeal has given DeSantis a temporary victory by reinstating Florida’s mask mandate ban. The ban was initially signed by DeSantis through executive order in July.

The mask mandate ban has faced multiple steps in legal challenges by local school districts and parents seeking to have their school districts impose mask mandates for their students.

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Biden Administration Investigating Florida’s Mask Mandate Ban

President Joe Biden’s U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) is opening an investigation into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban. Specifically, the U.S. DOE’s civil rights office will be leading the probe after the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of reinstating DeSantis’ mask mandate ban.

The Acting Assistant Secretary for the civil rights office, Suzanne Goldberg, wrote a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran saying the federal government is concerned about Florida’s mask policies.

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DeSantis Appealing to Reinstate Stay on Florida Mask Mandate Ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has filed an appeal to reinstate a stay on Florida’s mask mandate ban. The filing was an emergency order after Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper lifted a stay after the state’s appeal, permitting school districts to impose mask mandates.

Cooper was the judge who struck down DeSantis’ mask mandate ban last month, siding with parents who have sued to have their districts be permitted to impose a mandate.

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Three Florida School Districts Challenge Mask Mandate Ban

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is appealing a ruling over the state’s mask mandate ban, three school districts are directly challenging the state’s rule by filing a challenge in the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH).

Attorneys for the Alachua, Broward, and Orange counties filed the challenge targeting the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) rule to block mask mandate bans. The ban keeps school districts from imposing a mask mandate so long as there is a parent permission opt-out.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Appeals Judicial Ruling on Mask Mandates

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced his administration has appealed a legal ruling striking down his July executive order banning mask mandates. DeSantis initially signed the order to prevent school districts from imposing district-wide mask mandates on students.

DeSantis has previously cited the recently signed “Parental Bill of Rights” legislation ensuring parents have the right to make healthcare decisions for their children, including wearing or not wearing masks.

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Florida Attorney General Joins Fight over Mask Mandates

Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody (R), has entered into the fight against rogue school districts defying state law. She voiced her opinion after a court decision earlier this week saying Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban was unconstitutional and unenforceable.

DeSantis said they will be quickly filing an appeal to the decision in another attempt to “defend the law and parents’ rights in Florida.”

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U.S. Department of Education Investigating States over Mask Mandate Bans

The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) announced they are investigating state laws across the country pertaining to mask mandate bans. The states subject to investigation are Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Notably, Florida was not included in the list regarding the initial investigation.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning mask mandates on July 30 kicking off a month of threats, legal action, and defiant school boards.

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Florida Judge Strikes Down DeSantis’ Mask Mandate Ban

Leon County Circuit Judge, John C. Cooper, has ruled Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis executive order banning mask mandates is unlawful and cannot be enforced, saying it does not “pass constitutional muster.”

Cooper sided with the parents challenging the legality of DeSantis’ order, and cited two previous Florida Supreme Court cases which indicated rights can be limited in the event others’ rights could be impacted. He specifically noted the prohibition of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

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Judge Hearing Arguments from Florida Parents over DeSantis’ Mask Mandate Ban

A Leon County Circuit Judge is hearing arguments from parents seeking an end to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban. Specifically, the parents are seeking to challenge DeSantis’ executive order from July 30, which numerous school districts have been defying.

Charles Dodson, a former judge and is representing the parents, said schools are not safe until everyone is masked.

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Leon County School Board Latest to Defy Gov. DeSantis by Demanding Children 5 years old and Up Wear Masks in School

Young girl wearing a mask and reading a book in school

The Leon County School District is the latest public school district to announce they are imposing K-8 mask mandate without a parent permission opt-out form. The district operated the first couple weeks of school without the opt-out form, but Superintendent Rocky Hanna made the announcement Sunday night.

“I do have an obligation to uphold the laws of the state of Florida,” said Hanna. “But, I have a greater obligation however to protect, the health, safety and welfare of the children of Tallahassee and Leon County.”

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Florida Judge Clears Path for Lawsuits Against Mask Mandate Ban

A Leon County Circuit Judge has refused to dismiss a case regarding a legal challenge to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban. DeSantis signed the executive order earlier this month, and despite threats of funding and salary withholding from the Florida Board of Education (BOE), multiple school districts have defied the order and implemented mandatory mask requirements.

With the move, lawsuits would be able to proceed by attorneys representing parents of students suing DeSantis, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education, and the BOE.

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Miami-Dade Schools Implement Mask Mandate

Ron DeSantis of Florida

The Miami-Dade Public School Board voted to impose a district-wide school mask mandate only providing a medical opt-out form. The board’s final vote was 7-1, after Superintendent Alberto Carvalho already expressed his support for a mask mandate.

Miami-Dade joins two other districts, Alachua and Broward, who are imposing a mask mandate illegally. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s school, and the Florida Board of Education (BOE) districts defying the order are outside of state law. Rogue districts are also at-risk of losing funding from the state over the mask mandate, according to the BOE.

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More Florida School Districts Look to Defy DeSantis on Mask Mandates

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is threatening to withhold funding from Alachua and Broward County school districts for imposing a district wide school mask mandate, other school districts are considering defying the state as well.

DeSantis previously signed an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s school, much to the ire of Alachua and Broward, but now Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties are planning on addressing masking issues in upcoming school board meetings.

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Florida Board of Education Ramping Up Pressure on Rogue School Districts

Richard Corocoran

The Florida Board of Education (BOE) is ramping up pressure toward Florida’s two defiant school districts, Alachua and Broward, over their insistence on imposing a district-wide school mask mandate despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban.

The BOE met on Tuesday night where they voted to direct Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to investigate the school districts and their elected officials, saying the school districts broke the law. Board member Tom Grady said the investigation could “involve withholding salaries, it may involve removing officers, it may involve reviewing district conduct.”

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Biden Backs Defiant Florida School Districts

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden has commended the Florida school districts who are defying Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools.

Biden called Broward Superintendent Vickie Cartwright earlier this month and praised her “leadership and courage to do the right thing for the health and well-being of their students, teachers, and schools,” by imposing a district-wide mask mandate.

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Feds Address DeSantis’ ‘Mask-Optional’ Order

The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) has expressed their concern over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ insistence on Florida’s public schools being mask optional for this school year. DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools ensuring the parents have “freedom to choose.”

However, the U.S. DOE sent a letter to DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Friday.

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Faculty Union Demands Mask Mandate in Florida Colleges and Universities

The United Faculty of Florida is imploring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to impose a mask mandate on all of Florida’s colleges and universities.

Their basis for the request is rooted in the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July which said everyone should wear masks indoors. They called on the governor through a letter which said Florida’s colleges and universities should “follow CDC recommendations, including universal masking indoors and other common-sense measures, to limit severe illness and keep our colleges and universities open for learning.”

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DeSantis Backs Off of Penalties for Defiant Florida School Districts

Ron DeSantis of Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has backed down from withholding salaries from school board members and superintendents who defy DeSantis’ statewide mask mandate ban. Alachua and Broward school districts are the two remaining holdout districts who are continuing to defy DeSantis’ order and mandate masks only providing for a doctor’s note exemption for students.

Earlier this week, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran penned a letter to the districts saying they had by 5:00 p.m. Friday to comply with the ban or face salary suspensions.  

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Florida Officials Defying Mask Optional Rule Could Have Salary Suspended

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is reminding officials who are defying his executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools, they could have funding withheld or the superintendents and school board members who impose the mandate could have their salaries suspended. DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw reminded the noncompliant school districts of the possible ramifications:

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Leon County School Board Member Attempts to Dox Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Children

Rosanne Wood

Leon County, Fla. School Board Member Roseanne Wood posted on Facebook she received word Maclay School, in Tallahassee, has reinstated their mask mandate for students, which she initially claimed happened to be where Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sends his children to school.
“I just got word through the listserv at Maclay – where Ron DeSantis is sending his children – has rescinded their opt-out policy and is requiring masks of all people on campus for the beginning of school,” the post said. “Wise decision! Safety first.”

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Florida Department of Education Data Shows Surge in Homeschool Students

Homeschoolers

Data from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) for the 2020-2021 school year shows a significant increase in the number of students who were enrolled in home education, which the Department believes is “direct result” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not counting public school students who opted to learn virtually, 143,431 students were homeschooled during the 2020-2021 school year, representing a 35.2% increase from the 106,115 students from the 2019-2020 school year.

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