Battle over masks between Alachua superintendent, state continues

Florida's education commissioner at a news conference Wednesday touted his relationships with all of the state’s superintendents during COVID.

"With all our superintendents, all 67 counties, we worked with them daily, daily, hourly during those early days," said Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

But the battle between Alachua County Public Schools and the state rages on. 

Governor Ron DeSantis threatened Monday to withhold superintendent and school board member salaries in districts that moved forward with mask mandates. Alachua County Public Schools is one of those distircts.

Commissioner Corcoran sent the district a letter, expressing his "grave concern" over the district’s "significant neglect" in following the governor’s order.

The governor is standing by his decision to ban mask mandates, calling schools safe. 

RELATED: Central Florida parents file lawsuit over mask mandate ban in schools

"There are actually higher infection rates when you are just in the community versus when you are in the classroom, particularly for the younger kids," said DeSantis.

Alachua County’s superintendent fired back in her own strongly worded letter, explaining the increase they’ve seen in COVID cases in the district. Two other superintendents were sent letters for the state: Boward and Leon. 

Broward, like Alachua, is standing by its mandate. Leon County Public Schools reversed its decision. 

"The commissioner of education has made it very clear. I think that was followed with a comment from the governor’s office about salaries. I said, in response, that I could care less about the salary. I mean money is one thing, but protecting our children and doing the right thing is always the right thing to do."

The right thing to do is still up for debate.

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