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.

An emergency Volusia County School Board meeting scheduled for Sept. 9 to discuss the K-12 mask mandate put in place Aug. 31 has been canceled.

The Sept. 9 meeting had been called by School Board Chair Linda Cuthbert Sept. 4 to discuss the legality of the board’s mask mandate, in light of legal updates from a Leon County circuit judge, and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appeal of his ruling.

Judge John Cooper of the 2nd Judicial District ruled that DeSantis’ prohibition against school mask mandates was unenforceable by the Florida Department of Education.

The governor ordered a stay on the measure, which would have allowed the state Department of Education to continue to punish school districts that passed mask mandates.

But Cooper ruled against DeSantis’ stay on Sept. 8. As such, the legal situation the School Board is in has not changed since its Aug. 31 meeting when the mask mandate for students was adopted.

“I called the meeting and at the time I called it, last week, we were out of compliance. We received a letter from the DOE that we were out of compliance,” Chair Linda Cuthbert told The Beacon. “Now that Judge Cooper has put us back in compliance for now, we didn’t need the meeting.”

School Board spokeswoman Kelly Schulz said the School Board now awaits a court ruling from the 1st District Court of Appeal, where the governor has filed to overturn Cooper’s ruling. As of Sept. 9, a hearing on the case has not yet been scheduled.

“It may change tomorrow,” Cuthbert said, “but we can discuss it Tuesday.”

Discussion of the mask mandate is on the agenda for the next School Board meeting.

The mandate is scheduled to be in place until Oct. 15, unless the order is extended or rescinded at a School Board meeting.

The next regularly scheduled Volusia County School Board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the Volusia County School District Administrative Complex, 200 N. Clara Ave. in DeLand.

Meetings can be viewed live online, HERE.


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