Brevard County

Clock is ticking for Brevard Public Schools after state issues reprimand over mask mandate

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The clock is ticking for Brevard Public Schools after it received a letter of reprimand from the state for its student mask mandate.

BPS is one of ten school districts that received the letter from the state, which threatened to deduct school leaders’ salaries if they refuse to drop their mask mandate.

The district now has 48 hours to respond.

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As it stands, the district has two choices: Either keep the mandate and be forced to pay hefty fines or create an opt-out choice that makes masks optional, depending on parental choice.

If the district doesn’t get rid of its mask mandate, the entire board will be short of more than $12,000.

“It wasn’t about salary and I believe you guys feel the same way, but we have to decide how we’re going to deal with those consequences come down,” said District 5 Chair Katye Campbell.

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The Biden administration made grant money available to balance out the money the state is threatening to withhold from school leaders’ salaries.

But after a request by State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Department of Education approved fining districts further, making sure 1/12 is taken out.

“I don’t think we should pursue any federal grants. I think that’s a hornet’s nest. We’re already in one and I think that would be adding another. The state board of education has already made it very clear what they’re going to do if we do that,” Campbell added.

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The current mask policy is in place until Nov. 30 or until case numbers reach 50 per every 100 thousand students.

The district gets an update at the end of every week, and at last check, there were 83 cases per 100,000 students.

Superintendent Mark Mullins said with case numbers moving in the right direction he expects they could get rid of the mandate as early as this Friday.

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“I am working with staff right now and finalizing a parent opt-out form that would be made available to parents online to be prepared in the instance that we reach 50 per 100 thousand,” Mullins said.

If they reach that threshold parents will be able to submit the opt-out forms the following Monday.

If cases spike again, the school board would have to recreate a mandate if they want to require masks.

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Orange County Public School officials have confirmed to Channel 9 that they also received a similar letter on Monday.

We are waiting to hear how they will handle the situation.

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