MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami-Dade County Public School District could ease its mask mandate by the end of the month.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is considering relaxing the mandate because local rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are down and so is the number of students who need to quarantine. In addition, most people eligible to get vaccinated in the district have received at least one dose.

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He says a decision will be based on the latest data and advice from a task force of local doctors. An easing of the policy would give parents an opt-out provision.

Masks were mandated when the delta variant caused a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

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The district, which is the state’s largest, joined a handful of other districts — representing about half of Florida’s public-school students — in adopting mask requirements with an opt-out only for medical reasons.
That defied an order by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose administration directed schools to allow parents to decide whether children wore masks in school.

In Miami-Dade last week, less than 1,000 of the district’s 330,000 students were required to quarantine, which was an all-time low, Carvalho said. He attributed the success to the district’s COVID-19 protocols, including mask mandates and quarantine policies.

The school mask issue landed in court, and the state began imposing financial penalties on districts defying the state mandate. The penalties have included docking salaries of local school board members who voted to impose student mask mandates.

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