MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he accepts the COVID task force’s recommendation to make masks mandatory on campuses at the start of the new school year, but a final decision on the matter is not expected until the Miami-Dade School Board meets later this week.
Monday’s Zoom meeting was one that many parents and teachers had been anticipating. Miami-Dade district officials discussed with their COVID task force what they have been doing up to this point to keep students safe.
“There’s no question that it’s the worst that Miami-Dade has ever had throughout this pandemic,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert at Florida International University about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
The COVID task force assigned to come up with recommendations for the upcoming school year in Miami-Dade agreed that masks are the way to go.
“I’m seeing in my private practice a surge like no other,” said general pediatric specialist Dr. Beny Rub.
Their discussions over Zoom included members of the district, including Carvalho.
“The week of August 6 through the 12 of the data speaks for itself, and not in a favorable way,” said district official Jaime Torrens.
After a nearly two-and-a-half-hour conversation, Carvalho said he sides with science and 100% accepts the recommended protocols the task force presented.
“That includes the protocols associated with masking on buses, appropriate social distancing, increased sanitization, as well as mandatory masking with accommodations as medically prescribed for students,” he said.
Carvalho revealed his position was heavily influenced by loss. He said in the past few months, more than a dozen people, employees and students died from COVID-19 or COVID-related complications.
In the last few weeks alone, he said that included four employees and a 13-year-old child.
“I don’t want to be the person who has to call a relative of some of the individuals who have reached out to me that I have spoken with, nor do I want to make another phone call to someone to say how sorry we are that their loved one is no longer here,” said Carvalho.
The school board will meet on Wednesday to voice their thoughts on the matter.
Meanwhile, one of the school board members has not been shy about her views on the debate.
Dr. Lubby Navarro recently tweeted, “I do not support masking our children! I stand firm on giving the choice to parents! The strongest voice in our education system are our parents!”
Navarro works for Memorial Healthcare System.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Memorial Healthcare wrote:
“The opinions of any of the more than 14,000 Memorial Healthcare System employees in forums outside their jobs and on their own time do not reflect the institutional position of the organization. Memorial Healthcare System has been consistent in supporting the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines…. that currently includes getting vaccinated, masking in all indoor public settings, hand washing, social distancing, and other actions that promote health and safety.”
While the superintendent made it clear he cannot speak for the school board, he said he is confident about what will happen on Wednesday.
“I look forward once again to the board’s confirmation and affirmation of the recommendations that have been preferred by the task force,” Carvalho said.
The COVID task force has asked for some additional work, particularly with issues pertaining to quarantining. They will be meeting weekly to examine how things are changing in the community.
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