By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thousands of students across Florida return to schools days after an appeals court ruled that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates can stay.

The ruling means that more than a dozen school districts that have implemented mask mandates, like Broward which has been targeted by the state, could face financial penalties.

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Despite the ban, South Florida’s school districts aren’t budging on their mandates.

Miami-Dade public schools along with Broward public schools, which has already seen some financial penalties, say they plan to keep their mandates in place as the nation deals with the Delta variant and a surge in cases.

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Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho spoke about the ruling during an appearance on CBS News “Face the Nation.”

“I believe that the recent actions taken in Tallahassee are contrary to the expert advice of public health and medical entities that declared that mask mandates are protective measures that serve a compelling public interest. Look, I’m the superintendent of a district that has lost 13 employees since August 16. Yes, all of them were unvaccinated. We’re still in a community where the positivity rate is at 8 percent, where the number of cases per 100,000 residents is elevated, around 331. Back in June, it was only about 76 individuals per 100,000. So the conditions are not what they should be for us to relax the protocols,” he said.

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The U.S. Department of Education is now investigating whether a ban on mask mandates in schools violates the civil rights of students with disabilities. Team