MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – South Florida students are heading back to class Monday following the long winter break.
As they return to campus, so too are some COVID-19 restrictions, with new cases caused by the omicron variant continuing to soar.
Starting Monday, all adults, including teachers, vendors and visitors, must mask up on campus at any Miami-Dade County public school, while vendors and visitors are required to wear face coverings at Broward County public schools.
The rule does not apply to students, thanks to a law signed by the governor, prohibiting mask mandates for kids.
Masks are also optional for teachers in Broward County.
“The legislature has obviously created a legal impediment for us to do what we believe he should do at the local level,” said Miami-Dade Public School Board Vice-Chair Steve Gallon.
Students in both districts are still strongly encouraged to wear a mask, especially when considering their low vaccination rates.
“About 90% of our students ages 5-11 in Miami-Dade are not vaccinated,” Gallon said.
“We are encouraging vaccinations for our students. We know that that is the primary way we are going to mitigate the danger,” Broward School Board Member Laurie Rich Levinson said.
The new state law does not apply to private schools, and the Archdiocese of Miami is now requiring all students and staff to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status.