The school board of Florida’s Lake County, which voted for former President Trump by 20 percentage points in 2020, considered imposing a school mask mandate on Thursday in violation of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order.
The proposed mandate would require all students and staff to wear masks for 14 days at schools that have five percent or higher COVID-19 positivity rates, with parents given an opt-out option for their children, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The school board heard more than three hours of public comment on the issue, as 280 people either spoke or sent emails, with two-thirds in support.
On Thursday, a Lake County school official said more than 1,000 of the 36,000 students in the district tested positive for COVID-19, according to Reuters.
DeSantis’ order on banning mask mandates has been violated by over a dozen counties that have voted to implement them. Florida’s Department of Education has threatened to withhold school district officials’ salaries of Alachua and Broward counties, which have violated DeSantis’ executive order by not allowing an opt-out option for parents of schoolchildren. Last week, a Florida judge ruled against the governor’s order, which the state DOE said it will appeal.
Initially, large, Democratic urban school districts rebelled against DeSantis’ order, but more Republican counties are following suit, Reuters reported.
Brevard County, which voted for Trump over President Biden by more than 16 points in 2020, narrowly voted for a school mask mandate earlier this week that will last for 30 days.
Hernando County, which favored Trump by nearly 30 points, passed a mask mandate the day after Brevard County, but provided an opt-out option for parents.