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Broward School Board Votes 5-3 To Remove Mask Requirement At High Schools

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward School Board has made a major decision regarding masks at schools across the district.

Members discussed the current mask mandate during a meeting Tuesday.

In a 5-3 vote, the board agreed to lift the requirement at high schools, though strongly recommended continued use. The change goes into effect on Monday, November 1.

The mask mandate remains in effect for elementary and middle school students.

"I'm proud of the School Board of Broward County for standing firm on keeping mask mandates in place for Broward County Public Schools' elementary and middle school students, and strongly encouraging high school students to wear masks," said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco in a statement.

Interim superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright said the community's response was overwhelmingly positive and supportive, even though some vocal parents have opposed the decision.

Back on October 5, the board had agreed to revisit their mask mandate when the county reached a 66% COVID-10 vaccination rate and when the positivity rate fell below 3% for a 10-day period.

In the last 10 days, the county has done so.

A document posted Monday night by the school board listed four options for the mask mandate going forward.

"Given the current conditions, it is recommended the District eliminate its face covering mandate at this time and follow the Florida Department of Health's Emergency Rule regarding quarantining, but continue to strongly encourage the use of face coverings and quarantining practices to avoid any "spikes" in positivity and until such time as the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a community health risk," according to the document.

READ: Broward School Board Executive Summary on mask mandate policy

The state's Board of Education voted to sanction the school district after they said it broke state law by issuing a mask mandate.

On the night following the board meeting, Dr. Cartwright participated in a "Meet and Chat" at Northeast High School in Oakland Park. It's a series of events for parents, family members and community members to engage with school board members about various issues, including masks.

Dr. Cartwright said the district is already being proactive, so when younger children can get vaccinated, they'll be ready.

"We're coordinate with the health department to have school sites available as vaccination points," Dr. Cartwright explained.

The events run through mid-December and the schedule can be found on the BCPS website.

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