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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

Masks In Schools; COVID Conspiracies; Hospital Stress; Operation New Hope

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MARY ALTAFFER / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO
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Four local school districts, including Duval and Alachua, have been attempting to work around Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning masks mandates in schools.  

The St. Johns County's school district is standing by its policy to keep masks optional, which has been met with backlash from a group of local parents.  

Colleen Jones has been covering this story for The St. Augustine Record. She joined us with her thoughts along with Heather Prediletto, the Co-Founder of “Doctors & Community Members for Masks in St Johns Schools.”  

COVID Conspiracies

A Jacksonville family mourns this week as they bury their 75-year-old mother. Before her death due to COVID-19, her family thought she was vaccinated. She was not. Her son, who wished to remain anonymous, said his mother became sucked into conspiracies which is why she lied about her vaccine status.  

Hospital Stress

Hospitals in Florida are under serious stress due to the recent COVID surge, and they need more nurses.  ICUs are at capacity and many nurses are accepting lucrative travel nursing contracts, some paying up to $70  an hour. This has left some local hospitals without a sufficient staff of nurses.  Cynthia Cummings EdD, RN, CHSE, CNE Professor, Interim Director School of Nursing Brooks College of Health told us more.

Operation New Hope

Ronnie Cage is a pre-release case manager at Jacksonville’s Operation New Hope.  The program aims to help incarcerated fathers. Cage’s work at the Baker Correctional Institute is receiving national attention. He talked to us about his work.  

Patrick Cantin can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter