CNN this week cited reports of multiple Broward County teachers dying of the Chinese coronavirus in a single day and attempted to tie it to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) prioritizing parental freedom in choosing whether to mask their children in school.
CNN cited a local report asserting that three Broward County teachers, as well as one assistant, died of the coronavirus in a single day.
“The county of course in a tense standoff with governor Ron DeSantis with masks. DeSantis is threatening the district for requiring masks to be worn in the schools,” the anchor said.
“Since August 1, were told that Broward County had 138 employees test positive,” he added.
BREAKING: WFOR is reporting that 4 teachers from Broward county have died of covid in a single day.
Three were unvaccinated. We don’t know the status of the 4th. pic.twitter.com/uT4XW7irc5
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 13, 2021
However, the Broward Teacher’s Union issued a correction, reducing the number to two teachers:
Correction: The Broward Teachers Union originally announced three teachers had died but has since issued a correction saying two teachers have died. https://t.co/HhErUXgDMR
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) August 13, 2021
According to Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco, the teachers, as well as the assistant, were in their 40s and 50s. One of the teachers, she added, was unvaccinated due to a preexisting condition.
Students, however, are not returning to Broward County Schools until Wednesday, August 18, 2021, despite CNN’s apparent attempt to connect the fatalities to DeSantis’s refusal to force children to wear masks in school.
The Broward County public school system will require individuals to wear a mask on buses and school buildings and, unlike other school districts, will not provide an opt-out option. According to Local 10, “the only exceptions are for students with medical conditions or individual education plans”:
On Tuesday, the School Board of Broward County members voted 8-1 to keep the mask mandate despite DeSantis’ order. They also decided to hire outside legal counsel to deal with the state’s opposition.
Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a letter to Cartwright and Osgood threatening to impose “sanctions” if the district’s policy didn’t add the opt-out option that DeSantis’ order requires. Cartwright and Osgood responded with a 3-page letter arguing the district’s policy is complying with DeSantis’ rules.
DeSantis has stood firm, refusing to implement a mask mandate for children in Florida. President Biden, however, affirmed his administration is looking into whether it can stop states such as Florida and Texas from banning masks in their respective states.