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15 South Florida school district staff members die of COVID-19 in 10 days; report

FILE: Students sit in an Algebra class at Barbara Coleman Senior High School on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Miami Lakes, Fla. Miami-Dade County public schools require students to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
FILE: Students sit in an Algebra class at Barbara Coleman Senior High School on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Miami Lakes, Fla. Miami-Dade County public schools require students to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The coronavirus is taking a toll on one South Florida school district.

According to NBC6, 15 staff members in Miami-Dade County Public Schools died over a recent 10-day span.

One of the educators that lost their life to COVID-19 was Abe Coleman, 55, a teacher for more than 30 years.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools resumed classes on Aug. 23, but the outlet noted it’s unknown when the employees contracted the virus.

The deaths come as large school districts across the state battle with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran over safety protocols like masks.

Like the school district in Duval County, Miami-Dade made masks mandatory last month, joining a group of districts that defied a state order from DeSantis banning mask mandates.

The battle over mask requirements to guard against coronavirus in Florida schools headed for a new legal phase Friday following an appeal by DeSantis of a judge’s ruling that a blanket ban on mask mandates exceeds the state government’s authority.

The case heads next to the 15 judges on the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee and could ultimately wind up in the state Supreme Court. The issue is whether the freshly minted Parents Bill of Rights law means parents have sole authority to decide if their child wears a mask or permits a school board to impose a broad mask requirement.

Because that will likely take time, lawyers for parents challenging the ban on mask requirements want Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper to immediately lift an automatic stay that effectively allows the ban to continue to be enforced during the appeal.


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Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.