Broward school board agrees to impose face mask mandate starting Aug. 18

Broward school chair: ‘There is no way in good conscience that I could ... not have a mask mandate’

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The School Board of Broward County voted Wednesday afternoon to impose a face mask mandate at Broward County Public Schools.

As the issue was being discussed, Rosalind Osgood, the school board chair, said she felt it was her moral duty to support the facemask mandate.

“There is no way in good conscience that I could bring anybody back into the school environment, on the bus, the cafeteria, and not have a mask mandate,” Osgood said.

The first day of school for Broward is Aug. 18. Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said the number of COVID cases has been roughly doubling every nine days.

Given the new evidence on the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

There were some parents who expressed their opposition to the face mask mandate during the meeting. Karen Gushta, of the far-right Florida Citizens’ Alliance, a Naples-based group that stands against face mask mandates, disputed the established science behind the mandate.

Several school board members brought up the case of 15-year-old Paulina Velasquez, a J.P. Taravella High School student who remains in ICU on a ventilator fighting COVID-19.

In Miami-Dade, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Public Schools said the district will be requiring K-12 students to wear face masks in school buses. The decision about an indoor mandate is pending. The first day of school in Dade is Aug. 23.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also issued a face mask mandate in all county-owned buildings.

Government entities take on legal liability if they don’t mandate face masks under a CDC recommendation because should an employee or a student die of COVID the entity could be found liable.

Afternoon report

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Assignment Desk Manager Kerry Weston contributed to this report.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.