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Commissioner Fried Confirms Help is on the Way from the White House to Schools Penalized for Passing Mask Mandates

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is urging parents to send their kids to school wearing masks. Image: The Florida Channel
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is urging parents to send their kids to school wearing masks. Image: The Florida Channel

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, has a message of support for schools being threatened by Gov. Ron DeSantis for requiring masks at a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday. 

Fried says the Biden administration will make good on its promise to send this financial assistance just as they have with other COVID relief dollars last school year. 

“So to all of the school districts out there who are still making these tough decisions and to our superintendents. We will get your back. The White House will get your back. Unfortunately, the governor is not and is not looking out for the best interests of our children.”

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DeSantis says that money won’t be needed as only two districts, Miami Dade and Broward Counties, have defied his executive order and put mask mandates in place. 

“So our view is of course that that we believe this is a decision for the parent to make just given the uncertainty about what it means particularly for a lot of the young kids to be in that. I think that’s where the vast majority of the districts I know we have I think two who are not providing the parents with the rights. But obviously we believe that the parent rather than the government should ultimately be able to make that decision.”

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Fried is calling on the governor and the Florida Department of Health to release daily COVID numbers as coronavirus cases surge.

She reported some 15,449 COVID-related hospitalizations today at 238 hospitals throughout the state. She says 90 percent of the state’s ICU beds are full. 

“Not everybody in the state of Florida is on Twitter and certainly not following the Department of Health. If the Department of Health and the governor was just doing their jobs and reporting these numbers in a timely, consistent fashion daily, we would have consistency. We would have transparency. There wouldn’t be confusion on what numbers, and what’s being calculated into those numbers.”

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Currently, the state has an 18.9 percent positivity rate as kids throughout the state go back to school.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.