In spite of the state’s governor, Florida’s largest school district enforced a mask order on Wednesday, the latest episode in the COVID-19 political fight in the southern United States, where new cases are at their highest, Reuters reports.
The Miami-Dade County School Board agreed to force majority of the district’s 360,000 pupils, as well as employees, to wear facial coverings when schools begin on Monday, following a day-long meeting that became tense at points. Municipal mask mandates were previously prohibited by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The mandate, which was adopted by the board on a 7-1 vote after the superintendent’s suggestion, exempts students who are unable to wear masks due to a medical condition.
Last month, DeSantis passed legislation prohibiting local governments from implementing mask requirements. He, like several other Republican governors, has said that wearing a mask is a personal choice that parents should make for their children.
At least two other counties have defied DeSantis’s directive, including Miami-Dade.
According to local news outlets, the state Board of Education decided with a unanimous vote on Tuesday to penalize Broward and Alachua counties for requiring masks in schools in disobedience of the governor’s decision.
Local news outlets also report that they are the first to be penalized, despite the fact that no particular steps have been taken against them.