CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Some parents are breathing a sigh of relief after the governor's ban on mask mandates was blocked by a Florida judge this afternoon.
Governor Ron DeSantis' order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school and threatened to withhold funding to districts that imposed bans. But today, a Florida judge called this move unconstitutional. Parents with children in the Lee County School District are reacting to the news.
“We had a hard time understanding why there wasn’t a mask mandate to begin with when the CDC itself is recommending this for the safety of our children," said Crystal Czyscon, mother to two students at Ida Baker High School.
It’s been a hot button issue since before the start of the new school year to mask or not to mask. Now that Governor Ron DeSantis' ban is on hold, some school boards may choose to impose a mask mandate.
“I feel like this issue has been politicized not just in Lee County but entirely around the state," says Czyscon. "We are just concerned parents who want our children to be safe. We want our children to have a safe environment and the CDC is recommending masks or ways to keep our children safe.”
Efforts have included sending emails to school board members as well as voicing concerns at school board meetings. Some are questioning the school district’s policies when it comes to other health matters- which cite the CDC.
“The Lee County School Board uses these experts in other things," said Jan Manarite, parent. "The HIV/AIDS policy for the Lee County School Board district mentions, and uses, CDC guidelines and guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatricians. Why aren’t we using CDC and American Academy of Pediatricians in a pandemic to protect our children?”
During the last Lee County school board meeting just last week, a mask mandate failed to pass. With some school board members citing the governor’s ban as their reason, for fear of losing school funding. But that could soon change.
“They wanted to vote a certain way but they were only hearing one side and they felt that their hands were tied because of Governor DeSantis’ mandate," says Czyscon.
It’s yet to be seen how school districts will respond to the new ruling. Lee county schools have already responded to fox 4, saying they will be holding a special meeting this monday night. But before that meeting, a rally will be taking place at 4:15 to show support for taking protective measures in schools.
“We’re continuing our efforts to contact the school board and reassure them that they will be making the right choice by protecting our children,” said Czyscon.
“I don’t want to be divided," says Manarite. "We all care about our kids. I’m not sure how we get there but at least put the kids first and the science first in the school system.”
The Governor's office said the judge's decision was not based on the law and it will appeal. As for Monday's meeting, Fox 4 will be there to bring you any new updates as we get them.