MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Public Schools is once again relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions, with quarantine protocols changing for middle school students.

On Wednesday, six school districts in Florida filed a petition against the state Department of Health, including the two largest districts, Miami-Dade and Broward.

“The petition challenges the emergency rule that was adopted by the Department of Health last week,” said Jamie Cole, an attorney representing the six districts.

That rule gives parents the right to decide whether or not their child will wear a mask in school and whether or not their student will quarantine if they are asymptomatic after being exposed to COVID-19.

“The six districts have adopted mask mandates that have parental opt-outs for medical reasons, but the FDOH requires opt-outs by the parents for any reason,” Cole said.

The districts also have quarantine requirements in place.

The attorney filing on behalf of the districts said the Department of Health is prioritizing parental choice over public health.

“Their authority to issue a rule is limited to rules that protect and control against communicable diseases,” Cole said.

Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, with COVID cases continuing to see a downward trend, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced more relaxed quarantine protocols for middle school students, though still not as relaxed as the state would like to see.

Starting Monday, a student who comes in close contact with someone who has COVID, instead of quarantining for 10 days, if they are asymptomatic, can come back five days after a negative test.

It’s the same policy that’s been in place for high schoolers in the district.

The superintendent also discussed a letter he sent to the Florida Department of Education, asking them to file for federal funds made available through the American Rescue Plan.

“The need is here, the academic regression is real, the social and emotional distress demonstrated by our students is very obvious, and the moral imperative of operating physical facilities in our schools is ongoing,” Carvalho said.

Despite the deadline having already passed, he said it’s crucial that the state tries to make those funds available to school districts throughout Florida.

Carvalho said Miami-Dade County Schools was supposed to get another $800 million worth of funding to help make schools safer during the pandemic.

The district has already spent $160 million on making enhancements to schools.

“So, we need that money to be expedited, and we believe that we can wait no longer,” Carvalho said.

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