As COVID-19 Spreads Again, Palm Beach County Parents Want Students, Teachers Masked. So Does CDC. But School Board Apparently Fears Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, An Anti-Masker.
Member Erica Whitfield Emails Parent. Member Debra Robinson, A Medical Doctor, Remains Uncharacteristically Silent.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The Palm Beach County School Board is apparently scared of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. At least one parent — an attorney — emailing members to encourage a return to mask mandates, received an astonishing response from member Erica Whitfield.
In the response, Whitfield suggests that the Board will do nothing about masks because of policies set by DeSantis. Whitfield apparels to embrace the narrative that DeSantis has unilateral control over the state with local leaders left powerless to do anything.
This is the email Whitfield sent:
From: Erica Whitfield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 8:45 AM
Subject: Re: Palm Beach County Elementary Schools
Thank you for writing us. I appreciate your comments. Unfortunately the governor does not want masks and has been very clear about this. I don’t feel we have authority over this anymore.
Whitfield’s response is notable and suggests the school board is abdicating its responsibility to represent students, parents and teachers in Palm Beach County. By suggesting DeSantis has total control, Whitfield appears to be relinquishing her responsibility as an elected representative.
While the Palm Beach County School Board ignores COVID, The Broward County School Board on Wednesday took the opposite stance — instituting a mask mandate for the start of the upcoming school year.
And in Miami-Dade County, Mayor Danielle Levine-Cava just again instituted a mask mandate for all indoor county facilities.
The South Palm Beach County attorney, who emailed all board members, seems to have only received a response from Whitfield. He suggested in an an email that legal action against the School Board is likely if his children become ill from COVID.
”As a parent of children in a Palm Beach County elementary school, it is my duty to protect them, and the Board shares that duty for them while they are at school. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 1001.42(8), the Board must “provide for proper attention to health, safety, and other matters relating to the welfare of students.” You are on notice that if (any) of my children get COVID as a proximate cause of attending a Palm Beach County elementary school with unmasked individuals, I will exercise all of my legal rights against the Board. Your inexplicable inability to follow guidance published by the CDC is a blatant violation of the statute and is simply gross negligence at best. You are further on notice that at least one member of my family is immunocompromised, and death or severe injury is likely should that family member get COVID as a result of your failure to simply follow the CDC.”
The surging COVID numbers in Florida — and Palm Beach County — have led to a new push for mask mandates. Elementary and Middle School students are too young for the vaccine, leaving them vulnerable to the Delta variant. The CDC this week called for for all students K-12 to wear masks indoors. But a vocal minority, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, oppose masks — claiming incorrectly that they interfere with growth and development.
Conversely, COVID-19 interferes with growth and development, especially if growth and development ceases because a child is dead from COVID.
Debra Robinson, a board member and medical doctor, spent much of the last school year vocally supporting COVID and mask protocols. Up for election in November of 2022, she is now silent on masking as COVID-19 again surges.
Board members Erica Whitfield, Frank Barbieri, Debra Robinson, M.D., Barbara McQuinn, Alexandra Ayala, Karen Brill, and Marcia Andrews did not respond to questions from BocaNewsNow.com.
Share your thoughts on masking in the Palm Beach County School District, and the School Board’s current response. If the form below does not appear, use this to access.
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