School districts across Florida are being told by the state's Department of Education that Gov. Ron DeSantis' recent suspension of local pandemic-related emergency orders will not affect classrooms for the remainder of the school year.
The pair of emergency orders the governor signed Monday morning only apply to county governments and do not impact school districts, according to Florida's Department of Education. However, DOE did make note of the fact that the orders would not have an impact on the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
There are still questions about what, if any, pandemic-related restrictions school districts will enact next year.
In a letter sent by Florida's Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to school districts back in April, the commissioner asked that face masks be optional next school year. The commissioner cited a lack of evidence that linked mask mandates and the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
However, some public health experts were skeptical about the evidence presented.
On Monday, DeSantis said his suspension of local COVID-related emergency orders, which are currently in place, through his executive power was "the evidence-based thing to do."
He cited the amount of Floridians vaccinated, the surplus of doses in the state and his want for people in the state to live freely as reasons behind the decision.
The governor also signed a new COVID bill that will go into effect July 1.
Under the bill, a default legal presumption is provided during any emergency that businesses should be free from government mandates to close, and schools should remain open for in-person instruction for children.
The bill only applies to government action and cannot force private companies to change their current rules and restrictions.
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