Task Force Recommends Face Masks for Miami-Dade Students | Florida News

By FREIDA FRISARO, Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s largest college district will probably require college students to put on face masks when lecture rooms open subsequent week, following the advice of a activity power of medical consultants and defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ try to dam necessary face masks guidelines.

The Miami-Dade County School Board is anticipated to approve the measure on Wednesday. “My mind is pretty made up on the way to move forward,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Students in neighboring Broward County will also be wearing masks when they return for the fall semester on Wednesday, and people in both districts have been keeping an eye on the Tampa area, where classes started last week. The Hillsborough County School Board, which has not required masks in classrooms, scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday to discuss additional protections against COVID-19.

“We’re at that place. It’s unavoidable,” board chairperson Lynn Gray stated Monday.

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Hillsborough’s COVID-19 case count stood at 731 at midday Monday, nearly 20 times higher than it was after the first week of fall classes in 2020. On Monday, the district reported 5,599 students and 316 employees were either in isolation, having tested positive for COVID-19, or in quarantine, which means they had close contact with a positive case.

Miami-Dade has the nation’s fourth-largest school district with 334,000 students, while Broward is the sixth-largest district with 261,000 students. Both counties were hotspots before, but now the delta variant has spread across so much of Florida that the entire state is considered high-risk. On Monday, about 15,600 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Florida, nearly eight times more than in June, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

President Joe Biden known as college district superintendents in Florida and Arizona final week to reward them for doing “the right thing” in defiance of executive orders from their governors. The Biden administration also promised federal money if DeSantis carries out a threat to withhold some state funds from districts imposing mask mandates.

Carvalho said he came to his conclusion despite criticism from some parents, noting that a 13-year-old student and four district employees have died of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Two teachers and an assistant teacher died from the virus last week in Broward County.

“I don’t know what the threshold of acceptable pain in this community is. I don’t know what the acceptable threshold or statistical probability of a single child dying is in this community,” he stated. “Just like I don’t know what the threshold that anyone should accept as appropriate for teachers, custodial staff, police officers who may have underlying conditions … who may be hospitalized, who may be intubated or who may perish.”

The Miami Herald reported that faculty board members met just about on Monday and appeared to agree with requiring masks.

“Our children will be fine,” stated college board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall. “We’re going to see to that.”

In Palm Beach County on Tuesday the county fee declared a state of emergency because the variety of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to pressure hospitals.

The unanimously permitted order permits the county to acquire information from hospitals that features the ICU capability and variety of beds accessible for COVID-19 sufferers.

The every day stories can be posted on-line, which can even assist “the public understand the critical situation we are in right now,” Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the county’s state-run well being division, informed the fee. “We are really at a very critical point.”

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay proposed the emergency order in spite of everything 12 ICU beds at Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade shortly stuffed up final week. The hospital was pressured to switch emergency room sufferers to hospitals in Miami and Orlando.

Meanwhile, Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County introduced Monday that it’s providing $150 bonuses to workers who’re totally vaccinated by Oct. 1, and that employees who do not comply can be required to put on masks and will not be allowed to eat in public areas indoors, amongst different necessities. Memorial now has near 700 COVID-19 sufferers being handled in its six hospitals, a information launch stated.

Follow AP’s protection of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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