ORLANDO, Fla. - Will mask mandates still exist at schools after a new executive order suspended all local COVID-19 restrictions?
Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended all local-government coronavirus emergency orders on Monday as he signed a bill that makes permanent his ban on COVID-19 vaccine "passports" and limits the authority of cities and counties in future healthcare crises.
"My message is that the vaccines protect you. Get vaccinated, and then live your life as if you are protected," DeSantis said. "You don’t have to chafe under restrictions Infinitum."
The order will not block businesses from requiring customers to socially distance or wear masks, but the Governor said he will call for lifting outstanding COVID-19-related fines that local governments have imposed on businesses at the next state clemency board meeting.
However, the executive order has left parents wondering about their children in schools.
According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida Department of Education said that the Governor's orders do not apply to schools.
The report said that state school leaders issued a statement clarifying that the Governor's orders only apply to COVID-19 orders in city and local governments, not schools.
FOX 35 is in contact with the state education department for confirmation that school districts still have the authority to have face-covering mandates in place.
Those mandates have come under fire by some parents and groups at recent school board meetings, recently prompting heated reactions in Seminole County.
So far, Orange, Volusia, Brevard, and Seminole County Schools say they are reviewing the new executive order before issuing a response or decision about their mask mandates. Meanwhile, except for Brevard County, the existing school mask mandates remain in place.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.