Four Florida teachers died this week, days before the start of the school year

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Four Florida teachers died this week, days before the start of the school year


Four teachers in Broward County, Florida died from Covid-19 this week as the Delta variant of the coronavirus rages across the state amid political wrangling over mask warrants and vaccination.

“Within 24 hours, an assistant teacher died, a teacher at her school died, an elementary school teacher died and another teacher at a high school,” Anna Fusco, president of Broward Teachers Union, who covers one of the largest school districts in the country, local media reported.

According to Fusco, three of the teachers were not vaccinated and the vaccination status of the fourth teacher was unknown at the time.

Florida is grappling with a record increase in Covid-19 cases and statewide pressure on hospitals. Almost 90% of intensive care unit beds in public hospitals that report data to the government are occupied, almost half of those with coronavirus patients and around 85% of inpatient capacity is full. Florida is the only state in the United States where more than a quarter of ordinary hospital beds are transferred to people with Covid, according to federal data, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

On July 30, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting school districts from requiring staff and students to wear masks.

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

“Let me tell you this: If you stand up against parental rights in Florida, I’m getting in your way. Well, I can tell you that in Florida the parents are going to make that decision, ”he said.

The DeSantis order has already been the subject of two lawsuits from parents across Florida.

According to the Broward County School System’s Covid-19 dashboard, the district has had 138 employees tested positive since early August.

Earlier this week, the school district voted to maintain its mask mandate despite the governor’s decree.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Tuesday threatened Broward schools with penalties if the district does not comply with state rules that call for an opt-out option for parents who refuse to leave their children. children wear a mask.

In a letter to Acting Broward Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright and School Board President Rosalind Osgood, Corcoran wrote: “The actions taken today at the Broward County School Board meeting make it clear that you currently have no intention of complying with this which is intended to guarantee parental / guardian choice options regarding their child while protecting the privacy rights of families and students, protected by the federal government and the state.

Corcoran gave the district until 5 p.m. Friday to submit a written document explaining its compliance with state law.

“Based on the facts presented, I can recommend to the State Board of Education that the department withhold funds in an amount equal to the salaries of the superintendent and all members of the school board,” he added.

Broward schools are expected to resume classes next week. Osgood told CNN on Friday, warning parents, teachers, staff and students: “This disease is going to kill you. “

A little further north, Palm Beach County, the nation’s 10th largest school district, has asked 440 students to self-quarantine just two days after the start of the new school year.

According to the district’s Covid-19 dashboard, there are 135 confirmed cases, including 27 employees and 108 students. Despite the county’s mask mandate, 6,394 students chose not to wear masks.

In an interview with MSNBC, District Superintendent Michael Burke said: “We are not allowed to isolate students if they choose to exercise this choice of opting out. [of mask-wearing] … We are not allowed to tell students where to sit on the bus, that sort of thing… And this possibility for families to withdraw results in more cases, which will ultimately send more children home and deprive them of this traditional classroom experience. “

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