MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade County Public School District, the largest district in the state of Florida and fourth largest in the nation, has less than 60 medical opt-out requests from parents regarding a mask mandate in school.
According to Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials, they have received about 58 medical opt-out requests, out of approximately 350,000 students.
"Modifications to their learning environments are being made to best suit the needs of the students," said the statement emailed to CBSMiami.com.
Miami-Dade is one of nearly a dozen schools district in Florida, that requires all students to wear masks unless they had a medical exemption, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Miami-Dade Schools has not had any communication from the Florida Department of Education over their mask mandate. However, the Florida DOE followed through on threats on Monday to withhold funds from the Broward and Alachua county school districts for defying Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates, despite a Florida circuit judge decision that ruled the ban unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.
Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said on Monday, the amount of money being withheld equals the school board members' monthly salaries in Broward and Alachua counties. Funds will continue to be withheld until the districts comply, Corcoran said, even though Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper issued an injunction barring Corcoran, the Department of Education, and the State Board of Education from enforcing DeSantis' order.
The governor's office has said that Cooper's decision wasn't based on the law, and the state will appeal it.
Broward County Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said in a statement that Broward County School Board believes they are in compliance with the law.
"The health and safety of our students, teachers and staff continue to be our main priorities," Cartwright said. "As such, BCPS (Broward County Public Schools) will continue to mandate masks, knowing the data shows they help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our schools."
The highly contagious Delta variant led to an acceleration in cases around Florida and record-high hospitalizations just as schools prepared to reopen classrooms. By mid-August, more than 21,000 new cases were being added per day, compared with about 8,500 a month earlier. Over the past week, new cases and hospitalizations have leveled off. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tallied 15,488 patients with COVID-19 in Florida hospitals, an 8% decrease over the past week.
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