FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools’ incoming superintendent is facing questions about the district’s sudden reversal on requiring masks in classrooms when the new school year begins.
Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said she will have to see what comes out of an emergency rule before making a final decision on whether students will have to wear masks or have the option not to.
Cartwright was joined by former superintendent Robert Runcie and other district leaders at Northeast High School in Oakland Park on Tuesday for the official opening of the school’s new state of the art weight room.
“It shows the students here that we are continuing to invest in them,” said Runcie.
The gym, equipped with treadmills, weights, barbells and athletic equipment, was funded by the district’s $800 million Smart Bond Program, a referendum designed to renovate and repair aging school facilities.
“It is really about doing what is in the best interest of the kids,” said Runcie. “The highlights of my career have been around moments like this.”
Before students can begin taking advantage of the new space and head back into the classroom, Cartwright said some decisions need to be made, as far as what is in the best interest of those kids, regarding mask-wearing in school.
“We are going to review what comes out in an emergency rule, once we have that information then we will make sure that we are making an informed decision at that point in time,” said Cartwright.
Broward Schools already backtracked once on its mask mandate Monday, saying the district would comply with the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order that prevents schools from requiring facial coverings.
In a second reversal Tuesday, Cartwright said the district will have to meet again before a final decision is made.
“We are not in a position today in order to provide you with an official statement,” she said. “If there is a change in direction, or if we are staying with our decision, we are just going to pause at this point in time as far as waiting for follow-up information so that we can make an informed decision.”
Cartwright encouraged parents who are concerned about sending their children back to school to reach out to local legislators, and even the governor himself, with their concerns.