By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County Public school students head back to class on Monday, August 23.

This year includes a mask mandate. It requires students, teachers, and staff to wear masks, just like what we saw last week when Broward public schools resumed. However, both counties have exemptions for children and adults with documented medical need.

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With two days until class begins in Miami-Dade, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is on a weekend tour of schools, which started Saturday at North Miami Senior High, where he explained how things are going to work on Monday.

“Masks will be required of all students, all grade levels, all teachers, the entire work force, visitors and volunteers at all schools at Miami-Dade Public Schools,” said Carvalho.

Thursday the Miami-Dade School Board voted, reaffirming Carvalho’s mask mandate which set up a showdown between the district and the state demanding the mask mandate be rescinded.

“In Miami-Dade, the decisions we have made are well informed in medicine and public health. There is no compromising on the issue of health and the protection of their teachers,” he said.

Miami-Dade joins other districts, including Broward, with mask mandates which are in direct violation of state law which says parents have the right to make that decision for their children.

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Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing back as six Florida school districts are now defying state law.

Carvalho said he expects to hear from the Florida Board of Education soon, especially after the DOE threatened Broward and Alachua Counties with financial penalties if they don’t drop the mask mandate.

“I think it would be reasonable to say that we expect a letter to come to Miami-Dade from Tallahassee with the same type of demand,” Carvalho said.

DeSantis has said those districts who are defying his order are “absolutely thumbing their nose at what the law of the state of Florida is.” He added, “My view is parents are in the better position to make the decision on whether their kids should be wearing the mask in school particularly young kids better than the government is.”

Carvalho is not backing down.

“On that I will not compromise and look if that come with a threat to position or salary, it’s a small price to pay to be on the right side of this issue and I’m comfortable with that.  I’m perfectly at peace,” he said.

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The districts with mask mandates include Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsboro, Alachua, and Sarasota.

Ted Scouten