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Florida to fine Palm Beach public schools over mask mandate

Virus Outbreak Florida
Students wearing protective masks walk past a “Welcome Back” sign before the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Riverview, Fla. Students are required to wear the masks at school unless their parents opt out. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The Florida Board of Education ruled unanimously on Thursday that the mandatory mask requirement enacted in Palm Beach and seven other counties violates state policy since there is no ability for parents to opt their children out.

The District has 48 hours to comply with the state order and allow for students to opt out of masking or lose up to $27,000 per month in state funding.

The Palm Beach County School Board voted on August 23rd to require students and staff to wear masks while on school grounds or on buses.

People with certain medical conditions are exempt from mandatory masking and facial coverings are not required while students are eating or outdoors.

Palm Beach schools superintendent Michael Burke considers the mask policy to be “reasonable and necessary” however Gov. Ron DeSantis believes the decision for children to wear masks should be left with parents and guardians.

Other counties facing potential penalties over mandatory masking include Broward, Miami-Dade, Orange, Duval, Alachua and Leon.

Burke intends to appeal the decision.