DeSantis Says Superintendents Might Lose Their Wage Ordering College Masks: NPR
Governor Ron DeSantis said the state education department could “tailor any financial consequences” for those who break the law. It adds that the governor, who has opposed all face-covering mandates since the pandemic began, is keen to protect parental rights. Rick Bowmer / AP Hide caption
Rick Bowmer / AP
Rick Bowmer / AP
As the majority of Florida K-12 schools prepare to reopen campus at full capacity this week – many on Tuesday – Governor Ron DeSantis announced the State Board of Education may withhold headmasters’ pay, implement mask requirements for students.
The move to potentially punish educators follows days of controversy in which school district leaders and school board members trying to adhere to CDC guidelines ignored an order from DeSantis banning school districts from wearing face masks.
In a statement to CBS4, the governor’s office said the state board of education can “narrowly tailor all financial consequences” for those who break the law. It adds that the governor, who has opposed all face-covering mandates since the pandemic began, is keen to protect parental rights.
“Ultimately, education funding is for the students. The children did not make the decision to interfere with their parents’ rights. Therefore, any financial sanctions for violating the rule would be directed at the officials who made that decision, “governor spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said in a tweet.
Teachers and other employees would not withhold their salaries.
“Only the salaries of those supervisory boards and school boards who deliberately oppose the EO and the subsequent rules on the protection of parental rights” could be affected by the latest directive, she said.
Florida is embroiled in an alarming COVID-19 spike fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, making many parts of the state dangerous hot spots. Case numbers are rising and hospitals are filling up with COVID patients, including children.
At least 135 children with the coronavirus had been hospitalized by Sunday.
Children 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, but Dr. Marcos Mestre, who works at the Niklaus Children’s Foundation Hospital in Miami, told NPR that all of the patients he saw in this age group were not vaccinated.
Due to the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all students from 2 years of age, regardless of their vaccination status. The agency also says students should keep at least 3 feet of separation in the classroom to reduce the risk of transmission and recommends screening tests.
Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade public schools, responded to DeSantis ominous threat on Monday afternoon. He said the country’s fourth largest school district had a plan in consultation with health experts.
“At no point can I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat with my paycheck; a small price to pay given the severity of this problem and the potential impact on the health and wellbeing of our students and dedicated staff,” said Carvalho said.
He added, “I want to thank the governor for realizing that our students should not be punished.”