Sanctions against Leon County Schools for mask mandate could include withholding salaries, state funds
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Board of Education will consider on Thursday whether to issue sanctions against the Leon County School District for violating the state’s COVID-19 emergency rules.
The agenda for Thursday’s board meeting includes “Consideration of Probable Cause for Noncompliance with Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-15, Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings.” Leon County is one of 11 districts listed in the agenda item. The board’s probable cause memo concluded with a finding that LCS is breaking the law and should face sanctions.
“Should the State Board adopt my recommendation, I request that it consider the sanction of withholding state funds in an amount equal to 1/12 of all school board members’ salaries, as well as withholding state funds in an amount equal to any federal grant funds awarded to LCS for its noncompliance with Emergency Rule 64DER21-15,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wrote.
Currently, LCS’ policy requires all students in pre-K through eighth grade to wear masks inside school property and on buses. Students can only opt-out with a doctor’s approval, which the state says violates the emergency rule since parents or guardians can’t make the choice.
Additionally, LCS decided on Sept. 27 asymptomatic students who return to the classroom after having close contact with COVID-19 will be required to wear a mask during what would’ve been the quarantine period. The state’s latest emergency rule regarding close contact allows asymptomatic students to return to class without a mask despite close contact with the virus.
LCS Superintendent Rocky Hanna said at a Sept. 27 press conference that, if the downward trend in COVID cases continues, he hopes masks will be 100% optional in the district by the end of October.
You can read the Board of Education’s probable cause document regarding LCS at this link or below.
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