Broward County has become a flashpoint for the national debate over reopening public schools in the middle of a Covid case explosion driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
3 educators in Broward were taken from this world by Covid infections within 24 hours of each other. This happened just as schools are preparing to reopen in the south Florida county next week.
Vaccine Mandates Being Weighed By The School Board Of Broward
These deaths occurred amidst the Broward County School Board’s push back against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in schools.
The deaths of the three educators have rocked the county’s teachers and staff alike.
Debra Hixon, a school board member said that one of them was a teacher in Pinewood Elementary School, one of them was a teacher and the other was a teaching assistant at Dillard Elementary School.
Hixon said that it is obviously a shock to see someone reasonably healthy and young to die of a virus we cannot see.
She added that she found it puzzling how someone could just pass away like that even when the situation is getting better with people wearing masks and vaccines being administered at a rapid rate.
It was noted by Hixon that it was not the first Covid related death of an educator that was beloved at Broward school.
In August 2020, the athletic director at JP Taravella High School also passed away from Covid complications.
The community was left shaken by the rate at which the 3 educators passed away this month.
Hixon said that the shock existed as it was a fast process. They were infected with Covid and they died relatively swiftly.
The school board is standing behind its 8 to 1 vote that requires students to wear masks in schools as the Broward school district prepares to reopen.
She said that their numbers are skyrocketing, and it is not the time to start lower number of layers that protect us from the virus. She added that masks are the one thing that works and a whole variety of protocols that we are following seem to have done a good job.
She added further that they were at 35-40% capacity and doing a decent job at maintaining health, but now that they are back at 100% capacity it is not the right time to scale back.
Other school dress code requirement was compared to the mask mandates by Hixon as they have also been implemented for the sake of safety.
An example is banning specific types of footwear because the likeliness of tripping and falling is greatly increased.
Hixon said that it is in the school policy that bedroom slippers, or flip flops cannot be worn in school as they are dangerous and can potentially hurt people.
She added that since no one has problems with that, asking people to wear masks to protect themselves as well as the ones around them should not be considered a huge issue.
At 35 middle and high schools, free Pfizer vaccines are being offered in the district to any study older than 12, including their families.
Hixon said that the demand was going up and she wished that it was higher, but in testing camps around the county, people can be seen lining up to get tested or receive the vaccine.
It is being contemplated by the school board of Broward whether or not vaccinations must be mandated for school staff.
Hixon said that they were looking at the legalities of being able to mandate vaccines.
A mandate for students for vaccinations is also being weighed by the school board as Covid has been wreaking havoc globally.