(ETH) – A Florida county school board voted on Wednesday to require students, staff, and visitors to wear masks inside its schools, directly conflicting with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) stance that schools should not impose mask mandates according to a recent report from TheHill.
The School Board of Broward County held a special meeting on Wednesday where members voted to require indoor masking inside schools, social distancing protocol inside classrooms, and seating capacity limits on school buses that would be implemented at the beginning of the school year, which starts in August.
According to WLRN, the move was made due to school board member’s concerns over a rising number of COVID-19 cases in South Florida and in light of guidance recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommends even the fully vaccinated again wear masks inside in COVID-19 hotspots.
“I really wanted to start this school year as normal as possible,” school board member Lori Alhadeff said on Wednesday, according to WLRN. “And a few weeks ago, I thought that we were in a position to go back to school without wearing masks and giving parents a choice.” “But now with COVID soaring, and the delta variant, a lot has changed,” Alhadeff said.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has just signed an executive order on Wednesday evening requiring all people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks indoors in public places, including private businesses according to a new report. This includes people dining inside the city’s restaurants and bars unless they are actively engaged in eating or drinking.
COVID-19 cases in Georgia are up by 203 percent over the last 14 days due to the highly contagious Delta variant, especially among unvaccinated people. While less likely to cause serious illness or hospitalization, breakthrough cases have been found in vaccinated individuals. At present, only 38 percent of eligible Georgians are fully vaccinated, according to tracking data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wednesday’s mandate follows the recent release of updated data and mask guidance by the CDC, recommending fully vaccinated people also wear face coverings within “public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.” Citing new data on the Delta variant, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said vaccinated individuals “have the potential to spread that virus to others.” The CDC currently lists Fulton and DeKalb counties, both of which incorporate portions of the city of Atlanta, among the areas of high community transmission.