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Florida’s school mask rules remain in force, for now

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
St Petersburg High School students, Sydney Conroy, 17, left and Toby Lam, 17 both wear a masks as they walk to the school for the first day of classes in August. A circuit court judge has allowed school districts' mask rules to remain in place during appeals in a legal battle over the issue.
St Petersburg High School students, Sydney Conroy, 17, left and Toby Lam, 17 both wear a masks as they walk to the school for the first day of classes in August. A circuit court judge has allowed school districts' mask rules to remain in place during appeals in a legal battle over the issue. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Sep. 9

Mask mandates remained in the forefront for another day, with two court hearings on the subject taking place. More action is expected today, with the Lake and Volusia school boards set to talk about their rules. Yes, Pinellas parents, we hear your complaints that your district isn’t doing anything more. But it’s not, despite one member’s editorial plea for action. Of course, there’s more going on in the world of Florida education, too. Read on for the latest.

Judge John Cooper gave districts the green light to keep enforcing their blanket mask mandates. That authority might not last long, as state officials said they’d appeal his ruling.

The legal challenges keep coming. The Miami-Dade County school district and the NAACP have filed separate requests for administrative hearings to review the Health Department’s emergency rule on school masks, the News Service of Florida reports.

Some districts continued to defy the state ban on mask mandates. The Brevard County School Board told the Department of Education it would stand by its policy, Florida Today reports. • Lee County district officials also stated their mandate complies with state law and rules, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

The Broward County School Board had an added message for the state. Rather than keep fighting over masks in court and withholding money, it said, the state should release federal relief funding to districts, Florida Phoenix reports.

Others kept talking about the issues without changing course. A Polk County School Board member made another call for a mask mandate, but didn’t get a vote, the Ledger reports. She also asked for a return to e-learning for students on quarantine. • The Monroe County School Board maintained its mask mandate with parent opt-out, the Miami Herald reports.

Many school boards are looking past this issue toward other important matters, such as approving their budgets. In Manatee County, residents are turning out to argue about masks, not money, the Bradenton Herald reports. Same in Leon County, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

More coronavirus concerns

Teachers don’t want to use their sick days if forced from work to quarantine. The St. Johns County school district will provide teachers eight COVID leave days, WJXT reports.

Gotta dance. A Leon County high school has postponed its homecoming game and dance by a month because of virus concerns, WTXL reports.

Other school news

Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis got his performance evaluation from his board members. It’s not as scathing as you might have expected.

The University of South Florida doesn’t have a campus football stadium. School leaders say that is going to change.

Speaking of football stadiums ... A Lake County high school wants to renovate its aging football stadium. It has turned to the community for support, WKMG reports.

Florida public schools now are required to provide a daily moment of silence. Some people love it, while others don’t see the point, Florida Phoenix reports.

Duval County teens again protested their school district’s dress code, which many said discriminates against girls. They’ve collected more than 1,600 petition signatures seeking changes, WJXT reports.

Where’s the bus? Orange County parents want answers as their children’s school buses are repeatedly late, WKMG reports.

Here comes Mindy. Gulf County schools will close in advance of Tropical Storm Mindy’s approach, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

Another day, another threat. A Broward County high school was evacuated as law enforcement investigated a bomb threat, WPLG reports.

From the police blotter ... Two Columbia County teens were arrested on allegations of bringing weapons to a high school football game, WGFL reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Does anybody else love The Blues Brothers movie?

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