MIAMI – Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said he agrees with recommendations by health experts that Miami-Dade County Public Schools implement a face mask mandate with an opt-out medical accommodation starting Aug. 23.
The School Board of Miami-Dade County will discuss and finalize on the issue when they meet at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools students start the 2021-22 school year in a week. New teachers had to report on Aug. 11 and the first regular teacher planning is on Wednesday.
Given the evidence on vaccine breakthrough cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status on July 27.
According to the CDC, the level of transmissibility remains high in Miami-Dade. The Aug. 6-12 case positivity rate was 20.3% in Miami-Dade, according to the Florida Department of Health. The Delta variant is the main driver of the ongoing COVID surge.
Broward County Public Schools will begin the new 2021-22 school year on Aug. 18 with a face mask mandate. School Board of Broward County members first approved a universal face mask mandate on July 28.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on July 30 to protect parents’ freedom to opt-out from school districts’ face mask mandates and tasked the Florida Department of Education with enforcing the order.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has threatened to penalize superintendents and school board members who defy the order. U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona condemned DeSantis’ order and the FDOE threats and offered to assist school districts who face penalties with federal COVID relief funds.