School Officials May Lose Pay For Covid-19 Masks Requirements

Who knew that trying to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations could cost you your paycheck?

Well, that’s essentially what may happen to school officials in the state of Florida. The CDC website currently advises, “given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” In this case, Delta is not the airline but rather the more contagious Delta variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus that’s been spreading throughout the U.S. That makes sense because face masks may help block Covid-19 coronaviruses from going into the air when an infectious kid or adult shouts things like, “yay, I live in Florida!” Face masks may also help prevent other kids and adults from inhaling viruses that may be in the air to some degree. It seems like a simple measure because after all, they’re face masks and not XXXX

Yet, if you are a school official in Florida and want to require face mask use in your school, it may end up hitting you right in the paycheck. That seems to be what Christina Pushaw, the Press Secretary for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) tweeted:

As I covered recently for Forbes, DeSantis issued an executive order preventing face mask requirements. In a statement to CBS4, DeSantis indicated: “With respect to enforcing any financial consequences for noncompliance of state law regarding these rules and ultimately the rights of parents to make decisions about their children’s education and health care decisions, it would be the goal of the State Board of Education to narrowly tailor any financial consequences to the offense committed.” Umm, what the heck does “narrowly tailor any financial consequences” mean? Is it a slim suit? Will they give school officials who try to implement face mask use a new addition to their wardrobe?

Not quite. The statement continued by saying, “For example, the State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision-makers who led to the violation of law.”

Yikes. Withhold salaries? In the middle of a pandemic, a public health emergency? Well, at least Florida is doing OK with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), right? Oh, wait, that’s right. According to the CDC, Florida had 23,903 new Covid-19 coronavirus cases on Friday, their highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. Oh and, based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 83% of Florida’s inpatient hospital beds are occupied.

Well, at least all students can get vaccinated. Oh, wait. Those under 12 years of age aren’t eligible for the Covid-19 vaccines. Less than half of the Florida state population is vaccinated right now too.

With Florida now considered by many to be the “epicenter” of the pandemic in the U.S., it seems like whatever the state has been doing to control the spread of the virus hasn’t quite worked. Jerry Seinfeld once told George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode The Opposite, “if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” It seems with Florida leading the nation in new Covid-19 coronavirus cases that following CDC recommendations might be a good idea.

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