A CBS affiliate and teachers’ union in Broward County, Florida have seized upon a local tragedy to attack Governor Ron DeSantis.
In the span of less than 24 hours earlier this week, four teachers working in the county passed away from COVID-19, which they contracted weeks before the August 19 school year start. CBS Miami’s news team editorialized about their deaths by noting that they came “ironically… around the same time Broward County’s School Board voted to defy Gov. DeSantis’ order to drop the mask mandate.”
DeSantis’s executive order instructed the Florida Department of Health to develop rules that “do not violate Floridians’ constitutional freedoms,” or “parents’ right under Florida law to make health care decisions for their minor children,” and do “protect children with disabilities or health conditions who would be harmed by certain protocols such as face masking requirements.”
The Department of Health responded by declaring that “students may wear masks or facial coverings as a mitigation measure; however. the school must allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt-out the student from wearing a face covering or mask.”
What the connection is between these educators’ deaths prior to the start of the school year and the fight over mask mandates remains unclear. Three of those who died were unvaccinated, while the vaccination status of the fourth is unknown.
Local teachers’ union head Anna Fusco declared that her and her members “got a little bit of relief, keeping mask protocols, hand sanitizer, extra sanitizing.” Yet it would seem that it was their vaccination status, not maskless children that put them in danger. Moreover, it has been known for over a year that the virus does not spread via surfaces.
DeSantis has recanted threats to withhold the pay of school administrators who move ahead with mask mandates in spite of the Department of Health’s recommendations.