Florida’s education department warns school districts: Follow DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates within 48 hours or get fined

Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responds to a question from the media at a press conference at the Eau Gallie High School aviation hangar in Melbourne, Florida, on March 22, 2021.
  • Florida's Department of Education said it will fine school districts that do not comply with the mask ban.
  • Broward and Alachua counties, which imposed a mask mandate for their schools, have 48 hours to reverse it or they will pay the fine.
  • The state will withhold funds on a monthly basis that would add up to equal the total yearly salary of school board members who vote to impose the mandates.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Florida Department of Education said Friday that it will fine school districts that don't comply with Governor DeSantis' ban on mask mandates within 48 hours.

Both Broward and Alachua counties imposed a mask mandate for their schools, in defiance of the governor's ban.

The state is giving both counties 48 hours to reverse their mandates, or face a fine equal to the salaries of the school board members who voted to institute the mask rules, the statement said, reported by ABC affiliate WTXL Tallahassee.

"As an initial step, the Flordia Department of Education will then begin to withhold from state funds, on a monthly basis, an amount equal to 1/12 of the total annual compensation of the school board members who voted to impose the unlawful mask mandates until each district demonstrates compliance," the statement said.

COVID-19 cases are surging in Florida, with 15,402 new cases on Wednesday alone, the CDC reported. Despite this, DeSantis continues to push back on restrictions suggested by public health experts, like mask mandates.

DeSantis issued a state-wide mask mandate ban for schools last month, saying that parents have the right to choose whether their children wear masks in the classroom, not the districts, per the executive order.

Many other states have either imposed mask mandates for all students or allow the districts to impose their own mask mandates if they choose to do so, USA Today reported.

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