Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says the state schooling committee can withhold salaries of supervisors and board members who implement masking duties

Last month, DeSantis issued an executive order calling on the state’s health and education departments to establish rules that prevent masking requirements for local schools. Since then, several lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the Executive Order.

Some school districts are considering masking requirements, and at least one has said masks are required unless parents object.

A statement by the governor’s office on Monday said the state education committee “could withhold the salary of the district chief or the members of the school committee.”

The statement said one of DeSantis’ priorities is protecting the rights of parents.

“I think the fairest thing is to just say the parents make the decisions,” DeSantis said at an event at a Tampa hospital last week.

Florida is seeing a dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases. The state reported 134,506 new Covid-19 cases on Friday last week, more than any other seven-day period during the pandemic.

According to the Florida Department of Health (DOH), the state reported 13,596 new Covid-19 cases in children under the age of 12 last week.

In the previous week that ended July 29, 10,585 new cases were reported for the age group, DOH data shows.

With many Florida children going back to school this week, the current new case positivity rate for children under the age of 12 is 20.5%, which is higher than the overall condition new case positivity rate of 18.9%, according to weekly reports from the DOH.

According to DOH data released on Friday, the new case positivity rate for the 12-19 age group is 24.3%.

CNN’s Keith Allen contributed to this report.

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