BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Broward County School Board held an emergency meeting Friday afternoon to discuss whether to alter its policy regarding face masks as students and staff members get ready to return to campuses Monday.
Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, district officials say all vendors and visitors will be required to wear face coverings while inside any district facility beginning Monday.
Masks for students and employees, however, will remain optional.
Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco had urged board members to not mandate masks for teachers, arguing that the vast majority of them, as well as students, are already wearing masks.
“Mandating is an insult,” Fusco said, adding that mandating masks for adults only would be “saying that we don’t trust them to wear it.”
Watch the full meeting below:
A letter from a Broward teacher that was read aloud during the meeting also acknowledged that the vast majority of people are already wearing masks at schools and urged board members not to take away their freedom of choice.
Another letter said if parents have the right to choose whether their children wear masks to schools, the adults should also be allowed to choose for themselves.
Per state law, the districts are prohibited from requiring students to wear face coverings, however, officials in both districts say they “highly encourage” all students to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
“BCPS protocols for cleaning classrooms and common areas including sanitization and cleaning cycles will be maintained,” a news release from the school district stated. “The District will continue to work with local health officials, and follow guidance from the CDC as it evaluates and adjusts COVID-19 health and safety protocols. In addition, social distancing, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations will continue to be encouraged.”
Visit https://www.browardschools.com/Page/64812 for more information about vaccination locations at select Broward County schools.
Officials at both school districts say parents should expect delays in transportation as there aren’t enough school bus drivers, and with the highly contagious omicron variant, the shortage could worsen.