Orange County teacher’s union pushes for stronger mask mandate

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The teacher’s union in Orange County wants the school district to set a stronger mask mandate.

Its latest push follows the recent backing of the decisions of Florida’s school superintendents from the U.S. Department of Education.

Right now, the union said the two sides are at an impasses over these issues.

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It’s all expected to fuel discussion in Thursday’s emergency work session on COVID-19 procedures.

An infusion of support came Friday in a letter from the U.S. Department of Education, telling the state’s superintendents that any funding cut by its state over school mask policies can be repaid by pandemic relief.

It’s a move viewed by many as the needed green light for districts that choose to toughen mandates.

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Citing a recent 20% virus infection rate, Orange County’s Teacher Union president Wendy Doromal said toughening the mask policy is just one safety protocol it’s fighting to bolster.

“(It) seems like every day we break a new record for the most cases and most hospitalizations, so why then would a school board possibly relax the essential procedures that were in line last year to protect teachers and students?” Doromal said.

The union said its demands simply follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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The district said it continues to monitor its current 30-day opt-out mask policy and officials may adjust as needed.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.