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Anti-mask mandate protesters
BEACON PHOTO/ELI WITEK PROTESTS — Anti-mask mandate protesters came out to protest the School Board's decision to consider a temporary mask mandate for K-12 students Aug. 31.

The Volusia County School Board will meet Thursday, Sept. 9, to once again discuss a temporary mask mandate for K-12 students. 

According to School Board Chair Linda Cuthbert, she called the emergency meeting in light of recent legal updates about mask mandates, like the one Volusia County put in place Aug. 31.

“I called the meeting, because the district needs the board’s guidance in lieu of the Governor’s stay order of Judge Cooper’s (Circuit Court of Appeals) ruling last week,” Cuthbert said.

A Leon County Circuit Court judge previously ruled that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates was unconstitutional. The governor’s office appealed that ruling Sept. 2, and now the legality of Volusia’s decision to mandate masks is in question.

“To be completely transparent, we need to discuss how to move forward,” Cuthbert told The Beacon. “If we keep the mandate, then everyone needs to be aware of the ramifications from the state.”

DeSantis and state officials have said they will cut the salaries of School Board members in districts that require students to wear masks.

Other Florida school districts have implemented mask mandates like Volusia County’s, and some have been punished by the Florida Department of Education for doing so. 

School Board members in Alachua and Broward counties have had their salaries withheld by the Florida Department of Education. Funding for salaries will not be reinstated until they comply with the governor’s orders banning mask mandates, the state Department of Education said. 

After passage of the mandatory mask mandate Aug. 31, Volusia County Schools reopened full-time applications for Volusia Online Learning, a district virtual school option, through noon Friday, Sept. 10.

The School Board’s Thursday, Sept. 9,meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Volusia County School District Administrative Complex, 200 N. Clara Ave. The meeting can also be viewed online, HERE.

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