September 20, 2021 6:00am

Broward Leaders Strongly Oppose Gov. DeSantis in the Ongoing Conflict Over Masking Requirements

Optional Masks and Educator Salary Cuts Get a Resounding Thumbs-Down

Photo of Sallie James
By Sallie James
Fort Lauderdale, FL Correspondent

As the war on mask mandates in Broward County continues brewing while Covid-19 cases rise, results from Fort Lauderdale's 13th Power Poll show broad support for greater protections for students.

The mask mandates in Florida keep changing as challenges move through the courts. Although a Florida judge's decision to halt enforcement of Gov. DeSantis' mask ban in schools was recently struck down, Broward leaders continue to voice support for masks in schools so students here are better protected as cases among children are on the rise.

In our first Power Poll questions, we asked our poll takers if they agreed with a Florida judge's recent decision (since overturned) to halt enforcement of DeSantis' mask ban until an Appeals court rules it to be legal or not.

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Eighty percent of those who answered sided with the judge, with 40 percent strongly agreed with halting the mask ban and 40 percent agreeing with the ban. The remaining 20 percent of the respondents favored a mask optional stance.

Our second Power Poll question focused on DeSantis' decision to withhold the salaries of School Board members in Broward and Alachua counties over mask mandates, where School Board members in both counties were opposed to DeSantis' mask optional position.

Survey takers all disagreed with the decision to withhold the salaries of non-conforming School Board members, with 80 percent of the respondents strongly disagreeing and 20 percent disagreeing.

Our third Power Poll question asked about mask usage in general. We asked poll takers if they were in favor of a mask-optional policy in schools. Eighty percent of respondents disagreed with such a policy, with 60 percent strongly disagreeing. Twenty percent of the respondents agreed with a mask optional policy in schools.

Our fourth and final Power Poll question focused on students age 12 and younger who are not eligible yet for the COVID-19 vaccine. We asked our poll takers if teachers whose students are 12 years or younger should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccination to protect their students. The answer was an overwhelming "yes," with 80 percent strongly agreeing and 20 percent disagreeing.

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