The county’s school board voted unanimously to keep a mask policy in place through at least the beginning of the upcoming school year, citing recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encouraged vaccinated adults to continue wearing masks, even though they are not at risk of falling seriously ill from the coronavirus.
The board said it would reconsider the issue shortly after Labor Day.
“As a district, we have always been very adamant about following the science as we make important decisions about the health and well-being of our students, and I don’t think we should deviate from that,” board member Laurie Rich Levinson said, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The CDC has declined to offer studies supporting its recent reversal on mask mandates for vaccinated individuals, saying they have yet to be published. However, scientific evidence has shown that children pose a minimal risk of transmitting or suffering serious adverse effects from the coronavirus without pre-existing factors.
Unlike previous pandemics, like the Obama-era swine flu that specifically impacted younger portions of the population but did not result in school-imposed mitigation mandates, only 400 of the 600,000 COVID-related deaths (0.06%) have been children, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted recently.
According to Time magazine, fewer children died in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, than in previous years.
Thus far, 2021 also has seen a dramatic decrease in deaths, on average, for those ages 0-14, according to the Human Mortality Database.
But while ignoring the devastating impacts that forced masking will have on the learning environment, leftist bureaucrats are insisting that the risk is still too great.
“Children are not supposed to die, so 400 is a huge amount,” Walensky claimed.
In Broward County—part of the Miami metropolitan area—the reason the school board didn’t want to make mask-wearing optional is because that would mean “most students aren’t going to wear them,” board member Patti Good said.
Broward County is the only county in the state that plans to make masks mandatory for students.
In order “to ensure a normal, mask-optional school year,” DeSantis warned this week that he would call a special session of the state legislature.
“Our view is that this should absolutely not be imposed—it should not be mandated,” said DeSantis. “And I know our Legislature feels strongly about it.”
State lawmakers want “to be able to provide protections for parents and kids who just want to breathe freely and don’t want to be suffering under these masks during the school year,” he added.
This is not the first time Broward County has had a run-in with DeSantis.
In 2018 after the midterm elections, DeSantis pushed for disgraced Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to be removed due to her blatant “incompetence.”
He also cut $4.2 million in state funding from the county after signing the state budget in June.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.