FORT LAUDERDALE — A teacher in South Florida has been fired for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask.
The school board in Broward County on Tuesday unanimously voted to fire John C. Alvarez, a science teacher at Piper High for gross insubordination.
Alvarez plans to appeal the decision to an administrative law judge, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The school board had required students and employees to wear masks in schools for most of the school year, citing a large number of COVID-19 cases, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has prohibited student mask mandates, leading to months of bitter legal disputes with Broward and other counties. DeSantis’ orders, which were codified into law by state lawmakers last month, do not apply to employees, only students.
Alvarez repeatedly refused to follow orders from his supervisors to wear a mask and he was fired for insubordination, even though the district no longer requires anyone to wear masks on school campuses, according to the school district.
“The fact that this is related to a mask and all the baggage that issue comes with is really not relevant to the complaint at hand, which is that there was gross insubordination by this employee to a directive by a supervisor,” said Marylin Batista, the school board’s interim general counsel.
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How to get vaccinated
The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for eligible recipients are being administered at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Here’s how to find a site near you:
Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your zip code.
More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.
Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.
Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.
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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
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COVID AND THE FLU: Get a flu shot and the COVID vaccine to avoid a ‘twindemic.’
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