Four Florida teachers died this week, days before school year begins

Four teachers in Florida’s Broward county have died from Covid-19 this week as the Delta variant of coronavirus rages in the state amid political rows over mask mandates and vaccination.

“Within a 24-hour span, we had an assistant teacher pass away, a teacher at her school pass away, an elementary teacher pass away and another teacher at a high school,” Anna Fusco, president of Broward Teachers Union, which covers one of the country’s largest school districts, told local media outlets.

According to Fusco, three of the teachers were unvaccinated and the vaccination status of the fourth teacher was at that point unknown.

Florida is grappling with a record-breaking surge in Covid-19 cases and statewide pressure on hospitals. 거의 90% of intensive care unit beds across state hospitals that report data to the government are occupied, almost half of those with coronavirus patients, and about 85% of inpatient capacity is full. Florida is the only state in the US where more than a quarter of ordinary inpatient beds are given over to those with Covid, according to federal data, the Daytona Beach News-Journal 보고.

의 위에 30 칠월, Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed an executive order that prohibits school districts from requiring staff and students to wear masks.

DeSantis has also vowed to cut off state funding to any school district that implements a mask mandate.

“Let me tell you this: if you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way. 잘, I can tell you in Florida, the parents are going to make that decision,” he 말했다.

DeSantis’s order has already been met with two lawsuits from parents across Florida.

According to Broward county school system’s Covid-19 dashboard, the district has had 138 employees test positive since the start of August.

이번주 초, the school district 투표 to maintain its mask mandate despite the governor’s executive order.

On Tuesday, Florida’s education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, threatened Broward schools with sanctions if the district does not comply with state rules that call for an opt-out option for parents who refuse to let their children wear a mask.

안에 letter sent to the Broward schools interim superintendent, Vickie Cartwright, and school board chair, Rosalind Osgood, Corcoran wrote: “The action taken today at the Broward County School Board meeting makes it clear that you have no current intentions of complying with this order, which is intended to guarantee choice options of parents/guardians regarding their child while also protecting families’ and students’ federal and state protected rights to privacy.”

Corcoran has given the district until 5pm Friday to submit a written document explaining its compliance with the state law.

“Depending on the facts presented, I may recommend to the State Board of Education that the Department withhold funds in an amount equal to the salaries for the Superintendent and all the members of the School Board,” he added.

Broward schools are due back in session next week. Osgood said on CNN on Friday, in warning parents, teachers, staff and students: “This disease will kill you.”

Slightly farther north, Palm Beach county, the 10th largest school district in the country, 있다 asked 440 students to quarantine just two days into the new school year there.

According to the district’s Covid-19 dashboard, there are 135 confirmed cases, 포함 27 employees and 108 students. Despite the county’s mask mandate, 6,394 students have opted out of wearing masks.

In an interview with MSNBC, the district’s superintendent, Michael Burke, 말했다: “We’re not allowed to isolate students if they choose to exercise that choice to opt out [of mask-wearing] … We’re not allowed to tell students where to sit on the bus, that type of thing … And this ability for families to opt out is leading to more cases, which is ultimately going to send more kids home and deprive them of that traditional classroom experience.”

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