FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward County School Board decided to keep its current mask mandate.

District officials on Tuesday met to discuss the mask mandate that’s still in effect and quarantine policies.

“Our positivity rate has been declining,” said Broward Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright. “However, it is still considered to be very high, so we are continuing to monitor.”

The school board decided to keep the mask mandate in place.

Meanwhile, protesters stood outside the Broward County School Board building asking officials to leave the masking choice to the parents of the 250,000 students in the district.

“We are not ripping masks off any parents. We’re simply asking the Broward County School Board to obey the law,” a protester shouted into the megaphone.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Board of Education are now doubling down on their threat to punish school districts that continue to enforce mask-wearing.

In a memo addressed to Broward County, the state said it will continue to withhold funds equal to school board members’ salaries, and it will also withhold funds equal to the amount of federal funding it has received.

“At this point in time, we also are aware of the memo that the commissioner released. We just received it within a couple of hours ago,” Cartwright said, “and at this point in time, we continue to ask that the state allows for these decisions to be made by the local school districts.”

President Biden awarded Broward County more than $420,000 in grant money last week, saying the federal government would help school districts working to protect its students and staff from COVID-19.

“The task at hand is one that we take very seriously because we take the safety and security of our students as our top priority,” Cartwright said. “Every one of our staff members takes that as their number one goal, and then educating the entire child.”

Cartwright said the back and forth between the governor, the President and school districts makes the already difficult job of educating that much harder.

“We are acutely aware of what’s happening across the entire state as well as the nation, as we are in the middle of a pandemic. Does it add to the anxiety for our students, our families, our staff? Yes, it does,” Cartwright said.

The Florida Commissioner of Education is threatening to take away $421,000 from Broward County. The state Board of Education will be voting on that recommendation on Thursday.

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