MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Public Schools has not yet reached a decision regarding mask mandates for the upcoming school year, but the debate whether or not it will be enforced has started to heat up.

School districts across Florida have found themselves in a battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis after he issued an executive order banning mask mandates in classrooms.

“It’s about parental choice, not government mandate,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to do whatever we can to vindicate the rights of parents and make sure that parents are in the driver’s seat.”

On Wednesday, mask mandate supporters met outside of the school board building as members inside met to discuss their options.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who wear masks are less likely to spread COVID-19. Since many students are not old enough to get vaccinated, some school districts want to follow that recommendation.

“My number one priority is to ensure the safety of our students, and to do that, we need to be following the science,” M-DCPS Board Member Lucia Baez-Geller said.

The governor has threatened to take away state funding and salaries from districts that enforce mask mandates.

M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the district will follow the science and will not be pressured by lost paychecks.

“My position is one that takes into account the health and well-being, the welfare of students and those who we will be asking to go teach them come August 23rd,” Carvalho said.

Wearing a mask in classrooms, meanwhile, has proven popular with teachers in South Florida.

“We welcome all our children back, but we must welcome them back with safety measures,” United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats said.

President Joe Biden also weighed in on the topic.

“One of the things that I find a little disingenuous: when I suggest that people in zones where there is a high risk wear the mask like you all are doing, I’m told the government should get out of the way and not do that,” Biden said. “They don’t have the authority to do that, and I find it interesting that some of the very people who are saying that, who hold government positions, are people who are threatening that if a schoolteacher asks a student if they have been vaccinated, or if a principal says that everyone in my school should wear a mask or the school board goes for it, that governor will nullify that. That governor has the authority to say, ‘You can’t do that.’ I find that totally counterintuitive and frankly disingenuous.”

For now, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it may be time to require teachers to get the COVID-19 vaccine before they head back to work.

“I think we’re in such a serious situation now that under certain circumstances, mandates should be done,” he said.

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