Texas and Florida School Administrators Violate Governors’ Bans On Mask Requirements

As coronavirus infections rise in conservative regions with low vaccination rates, school districts of Florida and Texas are defying the prohibitions imposed by their Republican governor on mandating masks for students and instructors. The Florida-based Broward County school board became the latest major district to defy a Republican governor’s order outlawing the mask requirements in that state on Tuesday. It prompted the Joe Biden administration to say that they were discussing providing financial assistance to school districts if DeSantis retaliates by withholding funding from officials’ pay.

Texas and Florida School Administrators Violate Governors’ Bans On Mask Requirements

“You can’t put a price tag on someone’s life, including my salary,” this is what Superintendent of Leon County Rocky Hanna said during a meeting Monday with education officials in Tallahassee. Although Republican Governor Greg Abbott issued an order prohibiting such requirements, the Dallas Independent School District announced late Monday that it would likewise demand masks.

Texas and Florida School Administrators Violate Governors' Bans On Mask Requirements

Even though these states, along with Louisiana, Arkansas, and others, are inundated with new cases due to individuals refusing to comply with vaccination and mask requirements, school administrators have taken to the streets in a show of defiance. Educators and administrators are attempting to safeguard children, many of whom are under the age of 12 and thus unable to be vaccinated by the government.

Cases and hospitalizations in the United States have risen to six-month highs, fueled by the highly infectious Delta strain, with no sign of a flattening of the curve in sight. The states with the highest number of new COVID cases and the highest number of COVID patients are Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas, based on population. Texas isn’t far behind in terms of economic development and population. When asked why he voted in favor of a prohibition on mask requirements in his state, Republican Governor Asa Hutchison expressed remorse. Arkansas had just eight critical care beds available for COVID patients on Monday.

An Orlando-based surgeon claimed hospitals in the region were “overflowing” with unvaccinated patients in Florida, where a coronavirus patient fills almost one out of every three hospital beds. Officials with the Dallas school system, where several employees had threatened to leave if masks were not required to protect children, teachers, and others, said they did not think the governor’s directive should be extended to their district as well. Masks will be required at Austin schools as well.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order in July that prohibits local governments from adopting mask requirements. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the top executive of the county, announced late on Monday that he has petitioned a district court to stop the decision. Similarly, authorities in San Antonio ordered that masks be worn in public schools after a court issued a temporary injunction to enable the requirement, dealing a setback to Abbott’s campaign. When it comes to Florida, where lawsuits have been filed contesting the anti-mask rule, Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to remove wages from school district employees who violate his order.

The warning triggered a reaction from the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, who is contemplating reimbursing school officials who lose their jobs due to DeSantis’s threat if carried out.

Asked about his order prohibiting mask requirements, DeSantis said it would enable parents to decide whether or not to have their children wear masks for school on Tuesday. While Florida has become a hotbed of infections and hospitalizations have reached record levels, DeSantis has emerged as a national figure for opposing pandemic restrictions. DeSantis is closely associated with former President Donald Trump, and he has gained national attention for speaking out against pandemic restrictions.

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