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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Brevard County School Board votes to keep its mask mandate in place

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Brevard County
Misty Belford, chairman of the Brevard County School Board, says the mask mandate is still needed.

If weekly COVID-19 cases drop below 50 per 100,000 residents, the superintendent will switch to a policy with a parental opt-out. As of last week, the rate is 126 per 100,000.

The Brevard County School Board will keep its mask mandate until the end of October unless COVID-19 infections drop to a much lower level before then.

Tuesday’s decision came despite a scolding from lawmakers last week and possible sanctions later this week from the State Board of Education.

The board voted 3-2 to require masking indoors and on buses.

If weekly COVID-19 cases drop below 50 per 100,000 residents, the superintendent will switch to a policy with a parental opt-out. As of last week, the rate is 126 per 100,000.

Board Chair Misty Belford says the mandate is still needed, especially since quarantines are up to each student's parents after the state Department of Health revised its rules to enforce a governor's executive order on mask mandates.

She says focusing on pediatric deaths misses the other impacts on kids.

“And I don’t know if I shared with you all,” she said. “My own daughter contracted COVID the first week of school. She has missed five of her first nine weeks of high school because she has post-COVID illness.”

On Thursday, the Florida Board of Education will consider sanctions against districts that defied state rules on mask mandates.

Copyright 2021 WMFE