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escalations

Florida governor's office says if school officials impose mask mandates, salaries could be withheld

After several Florida school districts said they won't be following Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) executive order banning mask mandates on campuses, his office on Monday said the Florida Department of Education could withhold the salaries of those superintendents and school board members.

DeSantis said his order protects "parents' freedom to choose whether their children wear masks." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that at K-12 schools, people should wear masks indoors, and with Florida seeing a record surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases, several school districts have filed lawsuits against DeSantis' order or voted to have students wear masks, even if just for the first two weeks of classes.

On Friday, Florida reported 134,506 new COVID-19 cases over the last week — that's more than during any other seven-day period during the pandemic, CNN reports. Florida Department of Health data shows that among kids 12 and younger, there were 13,596 new COVID-19 cases reported last week, up from 10,585 new cases the week before. The new case positivity rate for kids under 12 is 20.5 percent, which is higher than the overall state new case positivity rate of 18.9 percent.