FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said school district leaders could go without pay if they put mask mandates in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in classrooms.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the governor’s office said, “The State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or the school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision makers who led to the violation of law.”

But some students don’t support the governor’s move.

While speaking with Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running to unseat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, middle school student Lila Hartley shared that she hopes students do wear masks in the classroom this fall. That way, she said, children who can’t get vaccinated, like her younger brother, can stay safe.

“I just don’t want him, or any other kids that can’t get vaccinated, to get sick at school,” she said.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho addressed the topic during an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, Sunday morning.

“We’ll continue to be a district that’s oriented by the expert advice of professionals,” he said.

Monday evening, Carvalho released a statement on the matter. It reads in part, “We have established a process that requires consultation with experts in the areas of public health and medicine. We will follow this process … and then make a final decision. At no point shall I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat to my paycheck, a small price to pay considering the gravity of this issue … I want to thank the governor for recognizing that students should not be penalized.”

Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade, also responded to the governor’s announcement.

“What we are asking and pleading is something that should be easy to understand. We are fighting for the safety of our children, for the safety of our community,” she said, “and when we see governors act like dictators, and say that they are going to oppress communities, take away funding from public schools, he’s fighting us against protecting our kids.”

DeSantis’ office indicated the governor wasn’t necessarily going to withhold school district leaders’ paychecks, but it is nevertheless an option the state has.

The latest development in the debate over masks comes as healthcare experts and local officials continue to urge South Florida residents to get vaccinated.

“I urge people to wear masks, get vaccinated, protect yourselves, your friends, your family, your community,” said Broward County Mayor Steve Geller.

The Sunshine State continues to break records when it comes to COVID hospitalizations and cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida logged 28,317 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, a new pandemic record, as well as 120 COVID-related deaths.

However, late Monday night, officials with the Florida Department of Health tweeted out different numbers for the past weekend: 21,500 new infections on Friday, 19,567 on Saturday and 15,319 on Sunday, with a three-day average of 18,795.

Statewide, hospitalizations on Sunday inched toward the 14,000 mark.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, out of the 13,977 hospitalized with the virus, in the state, 2,836 are in the ICU.

Jackson Memorial Hospital announced Monday that they have 125 more COVID-19 positive patients in just a week.

“People that are vaccinated, if they get COVID a second time, they’re not experiencing serious symptoms, 99%,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “Ninety percent, approximately, of the people who are being hospitalized right now in our hospital system are not vaccinated.”

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients nationwide is nearing 70,000. Roughly 20% are from Florida.

Yoiris Duran said she wishes she and her famiy had received the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it became avaiable. She said the virus sent her 55-year-old husband to the hospital and left her and her 25-year-old son bed-ridden for days.

“Last week was really bad, and I even actually thought that, you know, we could die,” said Duran. “We couldn’t breathe. That was like dying at that moment.”

Meanwhile, long lines of vehicles continue at COVID testing sites across South Florida.

7SkyForce hovered over Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah on Monday morning where dozens of vehicles could be seen at the testing site.

Others were seen in line at a Miami Beach site.

“It was good and fast,” said one woman.

Others rolled up their sleeve to get vaccinated.

“We’re providing both the testing and the vaccines on-site,” said Chevy Deacon, the founder of StatLab Mobile.

Deacon has set up a mobile unit in Palmetto Bay.

“We’re providing two shots: Moderna and Pfizer,” he said.

Even the Broward County Courthouse is giving out the shot.

“I recommend everybody to go, and actually, I’m telling all my friends and family to go and get vaccinated, OK? I don’t want people to go through what we have gone through,” said Duran.

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