BREAKING: Brevard School Board Votes For Mask Mandate.

In an emergency meeting, the Brevard County School Board passed a mandate that will require masks on all school properties as well as buses.

The meeting lasted nearly four hours and featured and announced 142 public comments.

Board Chair Misty Belford was up to her old tricks of threatening people who made unflattering comments, but she never had to enforce that. Even so, her statement before comments is unConstitutional as it prevents people from saying what they want.

She did, however, clamp down on the incessant clapping between speakers and we support that. First, the clapping is disruptive to the meeting itself, and her clamping down is therefore not legal. Secondly, while not in this case, people can and often are intimidated by speaking out “against the crowd.” People who clap, hoot and holler may not be willing to let other peoples’ voices be heard or shut voices off.

The meeting started out in an interesting manner in that the Board went to approve the agenda – an agenda with only one item on it – and District Four Representative and Vice Chair Matt Susin voted against the agenda.

Susin would later clarify that he thought the meeting was illegal as the Board had been discussing masks and COVID for the last three months, which meant that the meeting hardly qualified as an “emergency.”

There is a strong case to be made for that position.

The comments from people were fairly divided along the lines that we talked about earlier today. There were those that cited outdated studies and those who basically said the US Constitution prohibited the a governmental body from requiring a mask.

We missed that part of the Constitution.

Many people said they would not bow down the the “tyranny” of the School Board, and others said “you have to do something because people are dying.”

One pro-mask advocate said that a case from the 1920’s said that vaccinations could be required. While not siting the exact case, we are familiar with it.

The case is Buck v. Bell, in which the Supreme Court built upon the 1905 case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts in which a man claimed the choice of being vaccinated or paying a minimal fine was against his freedom. The Supreme Court ruled against him.

Buck v. Bell is a case or a horse of a whole ‘nother color.

Long regarded as one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court, Buck v. Bell was a eugenics case where Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrong that women who were mentally ill could be given an injection against their will that would “sterilize” them, (i.e. make them infertile.)

Think about that for a moment. That’s the case a person was citing as allowing a mandate for a vaccination – the forced sterilization of a woman.

Oy vey.

One thing that struck us was the pro-maskers were generally citing “science” while wearing basic face coverings.

As we noted this morning, the Waterloo study and the CDC says those types of “masks” are not effective and if people want to help stop the spread of COVID through the wearing of masks, people have to wear N95 certified masks.

In short, the people that were arguing and stating they wanted the Board to follow the “science,” we not in fact following the science.

This was true even up on the dais. Chairperson Belford and Representative McDougall wore what appeared to be N95 masks. Representatives Campbell and Susin did not wear masks on the “socially distanced” dais.

Yet Representative Jennifer Jenkins wore a face covering. We found that interesting as well because she was one of the most boisterous voices for masks.

So when the Board voted 3-2 to pass the mask mandate (Belford, McDougall and Jenkins for, Susin, and Campbell against) the whole thing had a feel of “we need to do something” rather than “we are going to do something that is effective.”

Unfortunately, the Board doesn’t realize what they have wrought.

By mandating masks for all employees, the School District is on the hook for the costs of the masks for employees.

This is basic employment law.

Anytime a company mandates something like a uniform or personal protection equipment, the employee must either pay for or reimburse the cost of those items to the employee.

We aren’t sure whether that would apply to students, but we think it does.

No matter what, the School Board needs to be taking money out of the classrooms and into an account for masks.

A quick check of N95 masks online at Walmart and Amazon yields a large range of prices (anywhere from $6.00 to $30.00 for ten masks.

The School District has approximately 9,000 staff members, which is an initial cost of $5,400 – $27,000.

But N95 masks are not “forever.”

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI,) the masks must be exchanged every 3-4 days and either disposed of or heated in an oven (158 degrees for 60 minutes,) boiled for 5 minutes, or steamed cleaned with 217 degree steam. N95 masks lose efficacy when hand washed with soap and water or alcohol.

No matter what, the School Board will need two N95 masks per employee per week at an initial costs of $10,800 – $54,000 (and that doesn’t include masks that get ripped, torn, etc and need to be replaced or the costs of distribution to various schools, facilities, etc.)

(And before anyone says, “the policy only requires ‘face coverings’ and not N95 masks,” we thought the whole point was to mitigate the spread of COVID using the best available science and information. Once again, the best science and information is that N95 masks are efficient in stopping the spread of the virus. Regular face masks and face coverings are not. Certainly the Board want the maximum protection in the schools, right? The School Board wouldn’t dare say that School employees and students don’t deserve the best facial covering, right?)

Once again, we believe a case can be made for and against wearing of masks. There does seem to be some mitigating against the spread of COVID, but other countries and states have seen little or no effect of masks which is why the numbers are rising in those areas.

However, if you are going to pass a mask mandate, you need to understand the consequences and the costs rather than doing what appears to be a “feel good” policy.

In short, if you are for masking and appeared at the meeting without an N95 mask, you are part of the problem. You won’t believe that you are, but you are.

If you showed up at the meeting not wearing a mask and shouted to the heavens “you aren’t the boss of me!” you too are part of the problem.

The health of a community is not a political football and yet from the outbreak of COVID, that is exactly what has happened.

One Response to “BREAKING: Brevard School Board Votes For Mask Mandate.”

  1. Hometown says:

    I watched some of the meeting and the final comments and vote. It appears to me this is just a case of “don’t just sit there, do something” and not based any science. As you stated the only masks that studies have shown actually work are the N95 masks which I didn’t even hear discussed, so I expect students and teachers will continue wearing those blue masks which actually state on the package they are not for medical uses and studies have shown to be ineffective in preventing covid transmission. Wonder were all the follow the science folks were.

    I didn’t see it but I would have thought the county health director should have made an appearance to clarify what the science actually says, maybe I missed it but I didn’t hear anyone mention their recommendations. If so, that’s sad that you’ve got a school board making a medical ruling based on public inputs.