Letter threatens Volusia teachers who enforce new mask policy

Volusia County School Board recently approved measure by 3-2 vote

Click Orlando | Mark Lehman | September 7, 2021

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A mandatory face-covering policy began Tuesday in Volusia County schools and will remain in place until Oct. 15.

The mandate requires kindergarten through 12th-grade students to wear masks, although students can opt out with a note from a doctor.

Before the rule went into effect, teachers from two schools said they received a letter that threatened police action to anyone who attempted to enforce the new mask policy.

The Volusia County teachers’ union said it sent the letter to the district for review.

“The letter essentially threatened anyone who tried to enforce the face-covering mandate,” Volusia Unite Educators President Elizabeth Albert said. “The writer of the email threatened to call the police and have a police report written.”

On Sept. 1, the Volusia County School Board voted 3-2 to pass the new policy because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. The school district also scheduled an emergency school board meeting for later this week to discuss the mask requirement.

The emergency meeting will take place Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. at the DeLand Administrative Complex at 200 N. Clara Ave. The meeting will be open to the public and anyone can watch it online at vcsedu.org.

The mask discussion comes as school districts around the state have been implementing mandatory mask mandates that defy Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on requiring masks for students without the option to opt out with a parental note. A judge ruled last month that DeSantis’ executive order overstepped his authority, but the state has already appealed that ruling, putting school districts back in legal limbo.

At least two school districts, Alachua and Broward, have faced financial consequences as a result of mask mandates when the state department of education withheld its school board salaries. Orange County has also received a warning from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran over its mask mandate.

Brevard County also passed a mask policy requiring a doctor’s note to opt-out. Neighboring Seminole and Lake counties had school board meetings to consider mandates as well, but neither county has made a final decision.

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