Duval County School Board postpones talks about mask mandate amid pending lawsuits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Duval County School Board put talks about removing its mask mandate on the back burner during Monday’s meeting.

This comes after the board received legal advice from its attorney, saying any discussion about masks could impact pending lawsuits against the district.

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Currently, there are three lawsuits against Duval County School Board.

In two of those lawsuits, the district is being sued for going against the governor’s order that says school districts can’t require masks.

The board mandated masks because of Duval County’s high COVID-19 positivity rate and numerous case numbers when the school year began.

The district had two criteria that had to be met for the mask mandate to be lifted:

  • The seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 people has to go down.
  • The seven-day positivity rate needs to go down.

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Today, the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 people is 90.4 and the seven-day positivity rate is 5.3%.

While the positivity rate has met one criterion, more average cases need to go down to meet the other.

Some board members wanted to discuss these numbers more and potentially vote to remove masks or talk about the removal of the mandate, but the legal advice meant that did not happen.

“Our litigation team with the office of general counsel, given the three separate pending lawsuits that Duval County School Board is currently engaged it, advised us against having much public discussion around our masks and mask policies,” said Elizabeth Andersen, chairwoman of District 2.

The Duval County School Board members did discuss the new communicable diseases policy.