Florida approves school vouchers for families in districts requiring masks

Florida approves school vouchers for families in districts requiring masks
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Florida’s Department of Education on Friday held an emergency meeting and agreed to let parents use private school vouchers to move their children if their public school has issued a mask mandate, WSVN reported.

Citing a law that provides protections against bullying, the board added “COVID-19 harassment” to a list of types of discrimination that can be cited for school transfers, according to the Miami Herald.

Florida board member Ben Gibson said the state would hold off on distributing funding to schools in any districts that fail to comply with the new decision, the newspaper reported.

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He also reiterated a common refrain from Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida first lady Casey DeSantis completes chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple Bill to ban lessons making white students feel 'discomfort' advances in Florida Senate MORE (R) that parents should be the ones making a decision on whether their children must wear masks in the classroom.

As Florida sees a record number of hospitalizations and a surge of new COVID-19 cases, DeSantis has argued that state school districts cannot mandate wearing masks. However, two districts — in Duval County and Alachua County — are already taking steps to do so.

On Wednesday, Florida reported 20,133 new COVID-19 cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 10,000 new cases have been reported over the last week alone.

The COVID-19 vaccine is only authorized for children 12 and older, though the vaccine could be approved for younger kids in the upcoming school year.

Pfizer and Moderna have started testing the vaccine in children under the age of 12.