Dozens attend DCPS emergency meeting Tuesday to demand 90-day mask mandate be lifted

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nearly 50 people stood outside the Duval County School Board building demanding an end to the 90-day mask mandate.

“This is not America to cover my mouth, to cover my children’s mouth, to cover my grandchildren’s mouth,” Margie Massoudi said.

At certain points, it got heated not only outside but inside during the public comment portion of the Duval County emergency meeting on Tuesday.

>>LINK: DCPS changes quarantine policy for elementary schools

This meeting came less than a week after Governor Ron DeSantis, the new State Surgeon General Ladapo and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced a new rule that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) now let parents decide if healthy kids are quarantined because of exposure to COVID-19.

The emergency rule went into effect on Sept. 22.

On Monday, DCPS also relaxed its quarantine policy for elementary schools. It will no longer quarantine an entire class when two kids test positive.

Dr. Jeffery Goldhagen was one of the few at the meeting who spoke up against the emergency quarantine rule.

“We need to make sure we identify children as being negative who are exposed and others with the disease if we’re going to stop the spread of the disease. Quarantine has been implemented for centuries and it works,” Dr. Goldhagen said.

Without COVID-19 protocols in place, Dr. Goldhagen said students won’t be safe inside the classroom.

“We need to mask, we need to disinfect, we need to space, we need to test, and we need to quarantine,” he said.

Still, most people came out on Tuesday asking DCPS to leave it in the hands of the parents.

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“We have to have our own choices, I’m in a free country,” Massoudi said.

Corcoran wrote a letter to Duval County Public Schools demanding a response to the emergency rule which is included below.

DCPS said its board members had less than 24 hours to respond and is asking the DOH to extend its deadline.

There was no further school board action Tuesday on the mask protocol. A properly completed medical opt-out is required if a family does not want their child to wear a mask.

The board did approve a motion (4-3) to give the Office of General Counsel authority to explore and/or move forward with litigation challenging the Department of Health rule issued on Sept. 22.

Below is Duval County School Board’s response to Corcoran.