MIAMI (AP). Florida’s largest school district is waiving all mask requirements, allowing parents of all grades to decide whether their children should wear a face mask, the superintendent said Tuesday.
Miami-Dade County School Director Alberto Carvalho issued a statement after a judge ruled last week that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was within his powers, allowing parents to waive strict orders. But instead of citing the decision, Carvalho said coronavirus cases were on the decline, adding that protocols could change if cases rise again.
“Based on current health conditions, which have improved significantly, parents from tomorrow can access a dropout form at any primary or K-8 school in Miami-Dade,” Carvalho said at a press conference, adding that these children can stop wearing masks to school by Friday.
Earlier this month, Carvalho relaxed mask requirements for middle and high school students and said he would also allow elementary school students to drop out soon if cases continue to decline.
The school board for the state’s second-largest district in Broward County also discussed requirements for relaxing masks on Tuesday.
Reported cases of coronavirus fell from 21,700 cases per day in mid-August, when the school year began, to 1,500. Hospitalizations also fell from 17,000 to 1,300.
Carvalho said three of the district’s four schools had no coronavirus cases last week, and most were elementary.
Two large school districts are opposing the DeSantis administration, strictly demanding a mask for all students. The state health department has introduced a rule that districts allow parents to choose whether their children wear masks.
Fighting between counties and the state has resulted in lower school board wages, a suspension of district funding, and has attracted the attention of federal education officials.