TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The State Board of Education will meet on Thursday to discuss possible punishments for school districts with COVID-19 mask mandates that violate state rules.
In August, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis imposed a ban on mask mandates in schools and threatened consequences for districts who defied the order. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran advised schools to change their mask policies to make face coverings voluntary.
The board is considering disciplinary action against 11 school districts that violated the state rules, including Hillsborough and Sarasota County school districts.
The Hillsborough County School District on Tuesday voted to relax its mask policy, giving parents the choice to opt-out of the mask policy. The new policy will go into effect Thursday ahead of the state board’s meeting. The school district’s budget is more than $60 million in the red.
“We are financially not in the best condition to have anything more taken away,” said Hillsborough School Board chairwoman Lynn Gray. “Speaking for myself, I felt that was the only way we could save the district financially.”
The meeting will take place in Tallahassee at 1 p.m. Thursday.