Tallahassee, Florida. – Today, Nikki, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Fried, an independent member of the Florida Cabinet, held a virtual press conference to release and discuss the school district’s COVID-19 data that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has worked to block. These data clearly show that school districts requiring masks have resulted in up to seven times fewer COVID-19 cases per capita than school districts that did not require masks. Commissioner Fried released the data ahead of today’s Board of Education meeting, which will determine the sanction for eleven Florida school districts requiring masks.
August 12, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services The public record has requested COVID-19 data from the Florida Department of Health, including daily cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for each Florida county and age, as well as intensive care capacity. Almost two months later, these public records have not been provided; Commissioner Fried therefore instructed his department to compile and analyze all publicly available COVID-19 data from school districts, so the public can find out how COVID-19 has impacted Florida schools and the effects of the policies of wearing masks.
Data and sources can be viewed here. Key findings from the data include:
- Three times less cases of COVID-19 students per capita in school districts starting the school year with mask requirements (Alachua, Broward, Miami-Dade) than school districts without a mask requirement
- School districts with promulgated mask requirements at all times had just half COVID-19 student cases as school districts without a mask requirement
- Four times higher peaks of COVID-19 cases per capita in school districts without a mask requirement than in school districts requiring masks
- Seven times higher peaks of COVID-19 student cases per capita in smaller school districts, with no mask requirement, than in larger school districts, where masks were required
- 600 times higher peak per capita cases in Unmasked Highland County (12 cases per capita) than in Masked Counties Miami-Dade and Broward (0.02 cases per capita)
- 0.69 peak cases per capita in school districts requiring masks; 0.98 peak cases per capita in school districts with parental removal of masks; 2.90 peak cases per capita in school districts without a mask requirement
- The five largest school districts had an average 0.48 peak cases per capita, while five smaller school districts had 3.51 peak cases per capita
“For months, Governor DeSantis has struggled to undermine the masks in the fight against COVID-19, releasing misinformation about the so-called ‘forced masking’ every moment, despite almost all experts agreeing that the masks work. When brave locally elected principals dared to challenge the governor and demand masks in schools, his petty response was to fund our school districts. Because his administration refused to provide the COVID-19 data I requested months ago, I asked my staff to compile all publicly available COVID-19 school data. These data clearly show the truth: the governor is lying about masks in schools, ”said Commissioner Fried. “Every time you look at the data, kids were better off in schools that required masks than those that didn’t. School districts that did nothing suffered four times as many COVID-19 cases as school districts that demanded masks, in direct contradiction to the governor’s misinformation. I stand with students, parents, teachers and President Biden in supporting our school districts who have taken action to keep children healthy, make parents work, and keep communities safe. “
VIDEO: A live broadcast of today’s press conference can be viewed here on Facebook Live.
Click to view COVID-19 school data graphs
Background: Despite strong criticism from parents, teachers and public health experts, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning local school districts from implementing temporary mask requirements in schools as Florida once again became the epicenter Country’s COVID-19. As state and federal lawsuits continue at taxpayer expense over DeSantis’ deceptive executive order, including alleged violations of federal disability laws, its Department of Education has taken the unprecedented step of funding a school district that has passed a mask requirement, and will meet today to consider funding nearly a dozen additional school districts. After President Biden intervened on behalf of teachers and school districts, DeSantis doubled down by threatening to fund more school districts that accept federal aid. The White House and federal officials have criticized DeSantis’ funding of schools, calling its actions “an abdication of the duty of state leaders to protect our children.” This week, the DeSantis administration faced fresh criticism that Florida is the only state not to submit plans for more than $ 2 billion in federal school funding from the US bailout.
Methodology: School districts in Florida’s 67 counties were asked about publicly available COVID-19 data dashboards. 33 school districts have publicly available COVID-19 data dashboards that publish aggregated case data, on a weekly basis, not just one day / week data, for all active weeks of the year school 2021-2022. Per capita cases are calculated as the total number of cases up to the week of September 20 divided by the total number of enrollments in the school district. The maximum number of cases per capita is the maximum number of weekly cases divided by the total number of enrollments in the school district. All data is typically week to week and is dependent on the school district’s data release schedule. School district enrollment data is reported by the Florida Department of Education. County population data is from the Florida Association of Counties.