FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - With classes starting in two weeks and COVID-19 cases rising, the Broward County School Board has voted to require students and teachers to resume wearing masks indoors.
To mask or not to mask? South Florida is once again having to ask the question as we see a spike in COVID-19 cases being fueled by the Delta variant.
After the CDC’s recommendation Tuesday to require masking in the classroom, and after hours of deliberation Wednesday, the Broward County School Board unanimously voted to require all students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings this upcoming school year.
“Until we see an increase in the number of vaccinations and a decrease in the number of people contracting COVID, we can’t relax,” said school board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood.
“We had positive cases, but the precautions we put in there, and masks were one of them, the spread did not happen, so that shows that it can help,” said Broward Teachers Union president Anna Fusco.
And while many parents wrote in to support mask wearing in classrooms, most of the people who spoke at the meeting expressed their concerns.
“These children are suffering social and emotional distress,” said parent Deidre Ruth.
A mother even had her daughter speak.
“I don’t want to wear [a mask] because I can’t breathe,” she said. “It’s hard to participate.”
In Miami-Dade County, there’s still no decision, but the school superintendent said he will be meeting with doctors and health officials soon.
Though he says as of now, masking on buses will be mandatory, and many of the health and disinfecting protocols they had last year will continue.
“We want to do the right thing for the right reason, based on truth, on evidence, science and ultimately based on the best interest of our children and our students,” said Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Julie Yanes, a mother and teacher, said she’s in favor of masking.
“It will help, you know, a lot of the kids,” she said. “They can still get the virus and pass it on to others and even much faster without masks, so with masks, at least that will add a little barrier.”
Miami-Dade County’s mayor also announced Wednesday face coverings will once again be required in county buildings regardless of vaccination status.
“People are getting gravely ill, and they’re dying,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
In Broward County, they are considering a similar move.
While state law prohibits counties from forcing private businesses to require masks, Levine Cava is urging people to wear face coverings indoors and in large crowds.
And for those who haven’t been vaccinated, she hopes you will reconsider getting the shot.
“We have to do our part to keep people out of the hospitals, and the only way to do that is to vaccinate and take these protective measures,” said Levine Cava.
The Miami-Dade County superintendent said the district should have a decision on masks made no later than two weeks prior to the first day of school.
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