FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – School Board of Broward County members plan to discuss if Broward County Public Schools students will have to wear face masks during the 2021-22 school year on Wednesday.
The use of face masks was optional during the summer. Members of the ReOpen South Florida group want it to stay that way. Chris Nelson, of Fort Lauderdale, founded the group.
The group used a disposable aluminum pan to set up a few face masks on fire. A few of the protesters’ children also held up signs and stood near the fire.
“I’m actually not a parent but I see exactly what is happening with these children being forced to wear masks,” Nelson said. “It is absolutely abusive. It has been going on for too long. I can’t even believe we’re still having this discussion.”
This was all while infectious disease experts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that vaccinated Americans should start wearing face masks again indoors in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates. The CDC already recommends that students wear face masks indoors.
According to the CDC, the level of transmission remains high in Florida, where there is a 15% to 19.9% positivity rate. From January to July, there has been a nearly 69% increase in COVID hospitalizations and a 58% increase in cases in Broward County.
Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward Teachers Union, said teachers are concerned about the new rise in cases in Broward County.
Fusco said teachers who live with underlying health conditions that put them at risk of a deadly COVID infection want the face masks to be required indoors.
“We’ve had hospitals come out, doctors, nurses about the beds filling up again. Those are not lies, so I get they want the right that they should not wear a mask and I pray to God that they don’t get sick from the variant but to say that this is child abuse or we’re abusing; no we’re not doing that,” Fusco said.
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Sadly, this moment & the associated #COVID19 illness, suffering & death could have been avoided with higher vaccination coverage in our country. We are in a race against time to increase vaccination coverage before new variants emerge. If you have not already, get vaccinated. https://t.co/WgSGVRISgg— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) July 27, 2021