MIAMI (WSVN) - The chair of the Broward County School Board defended the district’s decision to require masks in classrooms during the upcoming school year, as Miami-Dade Public Schools officials prepare to make a decision on the matter.

The Miami-Dade School District will decide whether or not students will need to wear their masks in class at the start of the new school year following a meeting set for Monday afternoon.

Sunday morning, Dr. Rosalind Osgood, chair of the Broward County School Board, appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation. She said she and her colleagues believe they made the right decision.

“We believe in science,” she said. “At the end of the day, lives are invaluable, and we have to make sure we use the tools that we can to mitigate this pandemic. We have to protect them at all costs.”

Her comments come as a battle brews between her district and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He signed an executive order giving parents, not school districts, the power to decide whether or not their child should wear a mask in school.

“I can tell you: Florida, we’re a free state,” said DeSantis.

Districts like Broward that defy the order could face a cut in state funding.

But the Biden administration has already stepped in, saying federal funds will flow into any district that has money diverted because of a mask mandate.

“We believe that masks are a tool that will help us mitigate the spread of COVID when you bring students and staff into a classroom environment,” said Osgood.

As the Miami-Dade School Board debates the issue, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the tough talk from Tallahassee won’t influence the decision.

“There is no threat, at least to me, to my paycheck, to my salary that will force me to abdicate from doing the right thing. No matter what steps we take, there will be condemnation, accusation, demands, threats of consequences,” he said during a recent speech.

In Gainesville, the University of Florida has announced classes will be in person and on campus this upcoming semester, a sign that life goes on despite the delta variant.

Meanwhile, for the first time in two weeks, the number of COVID-positive patients in Florida hospitals has slightly ticked down. However, nearly 16,000 Floridians are currently hospitalized because of the virus.

In addition, Florida keeps shattering its record for new daily cases. A new record was set Saturday with nearly 26,000 new COVID cases.

As of late Sunday night, new numbers have not yet been released.

7SkyForce hovered over a COVID-19 testing site in Hialeah where a long line of vehicles could be seen on Monday morning.

The first day of classes in Broward schools is Wednesday. Students in Miami-Dade are set to return to school on Aug. 23.

The decision the M-DCPS board makes on Monday will be finalized on Wednesday.

Several hundred parents in Miami-Dade County have signed an online petition asking for a mask mandate for students this school year.

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