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Brevard County School Board requires masks; Lake County board plans meeting on Thursday

Brevard County School Board chair Misty Belford voted for the district's mandatory mask policy. Image: BCSB via YouTube
Brevard County School Board chair Misty Belford voted for the district's mandatory mask policy. Image: BCSB via YouTube

Update: The special Lake County School Board meeting has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Lake County administration building in Tavares.

The Brevard County School Board voted 3-2 at an emergency meeting Monday to require students and adults to wear masks to lessen the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Lake County board has decided to hold a special meeting Thursday to review COVID-19 data.

The Brevard County decision follows a ruling last week by a Leon County circuit judge overturning Governor Ron DeSantis's ban on mask mandates.

School Board member Jennifer Jenkins called for the requirement.

Board chair Misty Belford supported the mandate, which will be in effect for 30 days.

She says in the three weeks since schools opened the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus has far outpaced its presence in the community at large.

She sees "a serious crisis" and a small window of opportunity to address it.

"I don't know that masks are the silver bullet and I'm not in favor of long-term mask mandates," Belford said. "But I do know without a doubt that what we are currently doing is not working and the options available to us to respond are incredibly limited."

The Lake County School Board -- with hundreds of kids testing positive for COVID-19 and thousands in quarantine -- plans a special meeting Friday to review COVID-19 data.

Lake County board member Kristi Burns pleaded with the others Monday to take the threat to students and staff more seriously.

"I am telling you from my morals and my own ethics something is wrong in the state of Lake County," she said a School Board workshop meeting. "I don't understand what is going on with all of you. Like, this is a problem and everyone's in denial."

On the advice of its attorney, the board is taking a more cautious approach to the judge's ruling -- which hasn't been signed yet and could be appealed.

They will meet at a larger venue after conflicts occurred outside the last meeting about masks.


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.