Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho partnered with University of Miami Health on Saturday to provide free vaccinations to school-aged children who are eligible, as students in Miami-Dade get set to head back to the classroom on Monday.
As Miami-Dade public schools prepare to welcome back students, Carvalho remained steadfast in his position to require masks in the classroom.
“We will not negotiate around the top priority of our school system, which is the protection, the health, the well-being of our children and those who will come to school come Monday to teach them,” Carvalho said.
After repeated threats from Governor Ron DeSantis to withhold funding from school districts that mandate masks, the superintendent has found himself on the wrong side of the governor’s executive order.
“I’m more concerned about being on the right side and that means perfectly aligned with the opinion of doctors, with the protection of our children and side-by-side with our teachers and principals,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho is also visiting several schools across the district this weekend before the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Many of them, like North Miami Beach are requiring social distancing and offering testing to keep their campuses safe.
“We know that students being home was difficult so we’re looking forward to all our students coming back,” Carvalho said.
With COVID cases rising across the state, North Miami Senior High School Principal Patrick Lacouty is looking to keep students in the classroom responsibly.
“When our students are here, they do better, so we want them to be here,” Lacouty said.
This is a move DeSantis’ office says breaks state regulations meant to give parents the choice.
“If that comes with a threat to position or salary, it’s a small price to pay to be on the right side of this issue and I’m comfortable with that," Lacouty said. "I’m perfectly at peace.”
The Biden administration says it will tap in to federal funds for any school district penalized for mandating masks. In Miami-Dade, there are very few options for students to opt out, except if they have medical issues or certain disabilities.