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Florida withholds funds from school districts over mask mandates

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By Jenny Goldsberry

Florida’s Department of Education announced Monday that it is refusing to fund two of its counties due to their mask mandates. Within the counties there are 10 schools currently with mask mandates. They also warned of more penalties to come.

“Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced that the Florida Department of Education has withheld the monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward County, as directed by the State Board of Education,” the statement read. “Each district has implemented a mandatory face mask policy that violates parental rights by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child.”

Yet Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled last Friday that the department could not level sanctions against districts. Even though Governor Ron DeSantis put into law a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” in June, Cooper ruled that mask mandates don’t apply. Instead, he ruled the department “must allow a due process proceeding of some sort to allow for a showing of reasonableness” before implementing sanctions.

At the time, DeSantis’ spokesperson said the governor planned to appeal the ruling. Then, the Commissioner Corcoran went on with his announcement. Since then, he retweeted the Florida Speaker of the House Christ Sprowls. “I stand firmly on the side of parental rights because parents, not local governments or school  boards, are in the best position to make choices for their children,” Sprowls tweeted.

“The Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education retain the right and duty to impose additional sanctions and take additional enforcement action to bring each school district into compliance with state law and rule,” the statement finished.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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COVID-19

California Tells COVID-Positive Medical Staff to ‘Return to Work Immediately, Without Isolation or Testing’

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The Los Angeles Times came out with a piece Wednesday titled, “With hospitals reeling, California tells COVID-positive medical workers to stay on the job.” With more and more patients arriving to the emergency room every day, forced to wait entire days to be seen, there is no one to answer the phones and no one to take out the trash.

Due to the Omicron-fueled surge, healthcare workers are calling out sick in droves, and has “left the medical infrastructure on edge.” As a result, California, and other state’s officials are examining a “Sweeping policy change that allows asymptomatic healthcare workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus to return to work immediately, without isolation or testing.”

Currently, the policy will remain in place through February 1st to avoid staffing shortages. The California Department of Public Health said because hospitals are reaching capacity, providing essential care is extremely compromised.

“Given those conditions, the department is providing temporary flexibility to help hospitals and emergency services providers respond to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages” said the agency.

On Tuesday, nurses and representatives with the SEIU 721 union spoke out against the measure outside the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting in downtown to L.A. The California Nurses Association also said it planning a “day of action” for Thursday to condemn the state’s decision.

“It is absolutely infuriating that Democrats turned our nation upside down, harmed our children and may have even allowed the Democrats to steal an election creating these mandates, only to be forced to throw it all out the window on a whim because they did not work” says Sara Carter

“When President Trump was questioning these things, when I would question these things, when any sane person would question these things, the Democrats tried to make everyone look like they wanted to kill their grandmother and that we were conspiracy theorists” adds Carter.

“Is the situation ideal? No,” said Dr. Robert-Kim Farley, an epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “Is it the lesser of the two evils of having no one to care for patients, versus having staff caring for them that may have COVID? Yes, it’s the lesser of two evils.”

The L.A. Times adds, “Kim-Farley said the policy is a recognition of the significant strain hospitals are experiencing amid an increased number of patients and decreased number of staff. The chances of transmission from an asymptomatic worker are minimal, he said, particularly since he or she would be practicing precautions, including wearing high-grade medical masks.”

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