State Goes to Appeals Court in School Board Mask Fight

Sep 21, 2021
News Service Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has asked an appeals court to block challenges filed by five school boards against a Department of Health rule aimed at preventing students from being forced to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors Say Mask Mandate Is Working As School Case Counts Slow

Sep 21, 2021
Members of the Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team rally for a mask mandate ahead of Tuesday night's Duval County Public Schools Board meeting.
Marla Bryant / Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported within Duval County Public Schools has tapered off significantly within the last week. Doctors say it's an indicator that the school district's stricter mask mandate is working. 

Masks aren’t the only thing the Broward County school district and state education leaders can’t agree on.

The second-largest school district in the state, which is among the largest in the nation, is also fighting with the Florida Department of Education over federal stimulus money designed to help schools beat back COVID-19.

Judge Rules Florida School Districts Can Require Masks Immediately

Sep 8, 2021
disposable mask
News Service of Florida

A Leon County circuit judge on Wednesday again blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order that seeks to bar school mask mandates, giving at least a temporary victory to parents challenging the order.

Duval School Board Approves Threshold To End Mask Mandate

Sep 8, 2021
Manu Fernandez / AP Photo

The Duval Schools mask requirement will remain in effect until December unless the community positivity rate decreases significantly, the School Board ruled Tuesday. 

school bus

On Tuesday, students at Duval County Public Schools will be asked to wear a face covering.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

An appeal filed Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration put on hold a Leon County circuit judge’s ruling against the state in a battle over school mask mandates --- but attorneys for a group of parents quickly requested that the ruling be allowed to take effect.

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Jacksonville-area clinic Carithers Pediatrics Group says it may grant facemask exemptions for children with autism, developmental delays and some hearing impairments, but not for children with asthma. 

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Duval County Public Schools has joined the growing list of Florida school districts defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school face mask mandates. 

Can A Duval Student Ask To Sit Away From One Who's Unmasked? District Says 'No'

Aug 20, 2021
Chris O'Meara / AP

More than 8,000 students have opted out of wearing masks within Duval County Public Schools within the second week of school — a small number representing only about 6.5 percent of the 125,000 students on campus. But teachers say the numbers are disproportionately dispersed classroom-to-classroom.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Duval County Public Schools board members met Tuesday to consider whether to reconsider the district’s face mask rules, as the district’s coronavirus dashboard shows 222 cases in the first four days of school. 

Fla. Education Board To Meet Over Compliance With Mask Rule

Aug 13, 2021
Parents and relatives wearing protective masks walk children to class before the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Riverview, Fla.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis and top state education officials are continuing to pursue a crackdown on school districts that don’t comply with a new Department of Health rule requiring that parents be allowed to opt out of student mask mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

a filter pocket on a mask

When shopping for a face mask for yourself or your kids, keep in mind that not all masks are created equal.

That’s especially important as transmission levels are very high in the Jacksonville area and kids are returning to school.

TALLAHASSEE --- A Leon County circuit judge has scheduled a hearing Friday in a lawsuit filed by parents challenging an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that seeks to prevent school districts from requiring students to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran Ramps Up Threat To School Officials Over Masks

Aug 10, 2021

TALLAHASSEE --- State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is looking to enforce Gov. Ron DeSantis’ threat to withhold the salaries of school officials in Alachua and Leon counties if they don’t comply with a state rule aimed at allowing parents to decide whether children wear masks in school.

Pope Francis puts on a face mask as he attends an inter-religious ceremony on Oct. 20, 2020.
Gregorio Borgia / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which runs 40 Catholic schools in Northeast and North Central Florida, has reinstituted its mask mandate for the beginning of the school year. 

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried
News Service of Florida

Florida reported 22,783 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest single day case count since the pandemic started.

Vouchers, Lawsuit Ratchet Up Florida School Mask Debate

Aug 6, 2021

TALLAHASSEE --- The State Board of Education approved an emergency rule Friday that will allow students who experience what officials labeled COVID-19 “harassment” to use state-backed vouchers to transfer to private schools or to move to different public schools or districts.

The rule, proposed by the Department of Education, was approved on the same day that the Florida Department of Health set new guidelines for COVID-19 protocols that would shield students from being mandated to wear masks.


Concerned parents are pushing the St. Johns County School Board to adopt stricter mask rules days after Duval County school officials instituted an opt-out policy. 

Via News4Jax

Mayor Lenny Curry says he won’t pursue COVID-19 mitigation strategies like mask and vaccine mandates or lockdowns and is instead going all-in on encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

Courtesy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which contains 40 Catholic schools in Northeast Florida, rescinded its mask mandate just days after announcing it due to an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis.


Classes begin in less than two weeks in Duval County amid rapid shifts in the coronavirus pandemic and the response from local, state and federal governments. 


Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores, has announced it will allow fully vaccinated customers and employees to shop and work maskless.


The City of Jacksonville’s mask mandate expired Friday, but officials with Duval County Public Schools reminded parents Sunday that masks are still required in schools. 

Duval County Mask Mandate Extended Into January

Dec 24, 2020
Face masks hanging on a cabinet
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Mayor Lenny Curry has extended Duval County’s mask mandate through at least Jan. 25, according to WJCT News partner News4Jax.

A woman wearing a protective mask watches television in her home.
Alvaro Barrientos / Associated Press

A St. Johns County Commissioner proposed a mandatory mask mandate during Tuesday’s special emergency meeting, but the motion failed as none of the other commissioners were willing to second the proposal, even as one of their colleagues is in “critical” condition due to complications from COVID-19.

Downtown St. Augustine, on the water's edge
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

St. Augustine City Commission voted unanimously on Friday to enforce an indoor mask mandate, with enforcement beginning Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Mayor Lenny speaking at a glass podium in Lot P of TIAA Bank Field, local health leaders in masks behind him, and grass and a small fence in the background. Also in the background is the lot j testing site
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry joined local health executives Thursday at TIAA Bank Field to once again address the importance of mask-wearing. 

Via News4Jax

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is continuing to urge people to wear masks in public settings, saying he thinks there’s a “disconnect of the importance of it” among residents. 

Surgeon General Jerome Adams
Video still from U.S. Surgeon General's Twitter account

The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending that everyone wear a cloth face mask whenever we go anywhere outside our homes. To help make more available, a grassroots movement has launched in Jacksonville to spread awareness about mask-wearing and get more masks into people's hands.