The Florida Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday to financially sanction eight school districts that enforced mask mandates in their schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These district mask policies, which adhere to federal guidance, go against state rules that require parents to have the “sole discretion” in whether their children wear masks to school. 

The decision was made at Thursday’s meeting after board members weighed comments from the public, superintendents and board officials about whether districts for Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach counties were in compliance with the state’s rules. 

Five of the counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Palm Beach and Duval, have some of the highest numbers of COVID cases in the state, according to John’s Hopkins.

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