As you know, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order barring school districts from adopting mask mandates. Every family should make it’s own decision, he has said. As schools open, the disastrous results of this reckless policy are becoming clear.

AFT President Randi Weingarten tweeted yesterday:

“Just heard….nearly 5600 Hillsborough County students in quarantine…. As a result, Hillsborough is calling an Emergency School Board meeting on Wed. This is the result of the recklessness by DeSantis….why is he banning mass mandates in schools?”

In Tampa Bay, hundreds of cases of coronavirus were reported in the first week of school.


Even though classes just started last week, schools in the greater Tampa Bay region have already seen hundreds of students and staff test positive for coronavirus, and thousands of people are isolating due to exposure or illness.

The numbers were generally between 10 times to 20 higher than the cases that were counted in the first week of school last year, and in Sarasota, school board chair Shirley Brown said the numbers reflected on district dashboards are far below the actual case count.

“It’s actually worse than what our dashboard shows because we are having trouble keeping up with data entry,” Brown said in an email to WUSF Sunday night.

By Sunday, 261 students in Sarasota County schools had tested positive in the first week. According to the school district’s COVID dashboard, 194 students were in isolation on Sunday.

A case count of 261 is already more than 20 times higher than last year, in a district that contains about 45,000 students. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported there were just 10 cases of COVID in the county’s schools the first two weeks last year. But Brown said that’s not even the full picture

The Florida Education Association is tracking cases statewide, and said 4,148 Florida Pre-K-12 students and staff have tested positive for coronavirus since Aug. 1.

Three children in Florida and 15 educations have died from COVID-19 since July, according to the Southeast’s largest labor union.

The families of those who died should sue those responsible for making it illegal to enact scientifically-based mitigation measures, including masks and vaccinations.