Mask use optional at Miami-Dade and Broward public schools

Miami-Dade and Broward schools track COVID data to make decisions about masking policies in their districts

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Beginning Monday, the use of facial coverings is optional at Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

In December, just days before the new year, as the omicron variant was rampant all across South Florida, the school district decided to reinstitute masking requirements for all adults, including teachers.

“It’s always following science, making sure that we connect with the local department of health, making sure we look at the statistics,” said Jose Dotres, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Because of new state laws, districts are limited in what they can do when it comes to COVID-19 protocols like masking.

In Broward, amid the winter COVID surge, the school board also put in place a new policy to require the masking of visitors and vendors.

On Monday, Local 10 News spoke to Broward’s newly selected superintendent Vickie Cartwright, who said Broward is changing that policy so that the wearing of masks for everyone will be strongly encouraged, but not required.

Cartwright said the data is trending in the right direction with positivity and hospitalization rates significantly lower. Student and teacher attendance is also good.

“We’ve had a two week trend in that data going downward so it was time at this point,” said Cartwright.

Parents we spoke to still have mixed feelings about masking in the classroom.

“I think every parent should have their own decision and I was ok with no masks,” said Lisa King, parent.

“I understand the parents who say that it should be up to the parents but if everyone is at risk, I think that everyone should do their part,” said Carrie Neff, parent.

About the Author:

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.