Last month, a judge declared the Florida governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools to be unconstitutional. Last Friday, a Florida appeals court ruled in favor of Governor Ron DeSantis — effectively reinstating the ban mask mandate.
DeSantis has threatened to take away millions in state funding from schools that enforce mask mandates. So far, he has only rescinded salaries for board members of two counties that have instituted mask mandates — Alachua and Broward counties.
Anna Fusco, President of the Broward Teachers Union, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why her school instituted mask requirements in the face of the governor’s ban, and how her union is working to keep students and staff healthy and safe in the midst of the pandemic.
District continues to mask in face of governor ban
The Broward County Teachers Association has been actively working with the District and the board to stand together and keep everyone safe, Fusco stated.
Hospitals are packed with people suffering from COVID-19. People who need basic healthcare are pushed away from medical facilities. Fusco questioned whether bans on mask requirements and vaccine mandates were the appropriate actions. She questioned whether Gov. DeSantis would also rescind current requirements for polio and measles vaccines.
This country is in the midst of a serious healthcare crisis, Fusco said. Vaccines have been proven to stop the spread. While Gov. DeSantis wants to open up the economy, his positions on masks and vaccines are actually doing the exact opposite, Fusco said. It is twisted and disheartening, she added.
A recent survey indicated that 86 percent of Broward teachers are vaccinated. The teachers association has organized vaccine drives at the Union Hall and made free COVID-19 testing available to teachers and staff.
Mask requirements have helped combat COVID-19
Now that students are back in school, COVID-19 numbers have steadily increased, but it is not nearly as bad as other districts in the state that do not have mask requirements, Fusco said. When 25 to 35 students are in a single room for seven hours a day, it is still possible to be exposed to COVID-19, but hopefully the spread will be contained thanks to widespread masking.
Broward County was the first in the state to push forward with a mask requirement and stick to it. While some may think the district is defying the governor, Fusco said the governor is defying science and creating his own rules that are unconstitutional.