FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - The Broward School Board met Tuesday and decided to postpone the meeting to discuss mask requirements for the upcoming school year after the meeting was interrupted by mask-burning protesters.
Broward will resume full in-person learning at the start of the 2021-2022 school year and, currently, masks are optional for students.
Before the Broward School Board met, anti maskers rallied in front of district
headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.
At one point, the leader of the crowd doused a tray full of masks with lighter fluid and set it on fire. He shouted, "It's time to pass off this symbol of tyranny."
Athena Coletti, 6, says when she wore a mask last year in preschool she said it was "hard to breathe and participate."
Her mother, Barbara Rodas, says she doesn't want her daughter to have to wear
a mask in first grade.
"I'm here to advocate for her and for her school friends," she said.
But before that could happen, the school board postponed the discussion on masks
causing an uproar among the people who were waiting to speak.
"Shame on you! This is a sham," They shouted.
"This is my kids, health and I wanted to express how we feel and they aren't letting us do it," said parent Pavla Martincova.
Before debating the mask topic the Broward School Board was waiting to hear what the CDC would do Tuesday afternoon. The CDC decided to recommend all staff and students wear masks in grades K thru 12, regardless of vaccine status.
While many anti maskers said they will return Wednesday to the Broward School Board meeting, Chairwoman Dr Rosalind Isgood reminded them that it is protocol to wear a mask inside headquarters
On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis held a round table discussion with his allies on opposing mask mandates for schools.
Last week, DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to mask mandates for students.
"There's been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids," DeSantis said. "We're not doing that in Florida, OK? We need our kids to breathe."
The governor said he supports school districts making masks optional for students.
COVID-19 cases, including the highly contagious Delta variant, are surging in Florida.
In Broward, the vaccination rate is 68%, but the county added 6,105 new cases last week and has a new case positivity rate of 10.9 percent.
Statewide, there were 73-thousand new coronavirus cases in Florida last week and the positivity rate jumped to 15 percent.
Florida accounted for twenty percent of the nation's new coronavirus infections last week.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reversed course on some of its masking guidelines and said fully vaccinated Americans should wear masks indoors in communities where there is substantial or high transmission. The change comes as the Delta variant sweeps across the country, although health officials still insist the approved vaccines give strong protection against the most serious effects of the virus.
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends in-person learning and urges all who are eligible to be vaccinated to protect against COVID-19.
They also recommended that all students older than two years and all school staff should wear face masks at school unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit their use. They noted that a significant portion of the student population is not eligible for vaccination and by wearing masks it would protect unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and reduce transmission.
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