Richard Corcoran: Districts can make facemasks voluntary for new school year

Corcoran also said face-covering policies inhibit peer-to-peer learning.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is telling school districts that currently have mask mandates to make what national health leaders consider protection, voluntary when the school year begins come fall.

Corcoran said after a thorough review, the data shows districts’ face-covering policies do not impact the spread of the virus.

“Upon reviewing the policies of those districts with mandatory face covering policies, reviewing all districts relevant health data, and factoring in such data points as the percentage of students learning in-person and the relative population of a county (which is often synonymous with a county’s community health resources), the data shows us that districts’ face covering policies do not impact the spread of the virus,” he wrote in his letter Florida’s superintendents.

In his letter to superintendents across the state, Corcoran said face coverings are a personal decision and families should have the option to make the choice that works best for them.

Corcoran is telling superintendents that one-size-fits-all policies like this do not meet the unique needs of students and families.

Corcoran said after looking at policies of districts with face-covering mandates, all districts health data, and in-person learning versus county population, the Florida Department of Education does not feel masks are necessary.

He also said face-covering policies inhibit peer-to-peer learning.

In the letter to superintendents, Corcoran said “such policies may also impede instruction in certain cases, especially for students with disabilities and English-language learners who benefit from viewing a teacher’s face and mouth.”

The CDC stated coronavirus transmission in schools is low due to safety measures like mask-wearing.

Last month, the CDC reduced its social distancing guidelines in certain school settings from 6 feet to 3 feet as long as masks are universally used.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that decision is supported by the science and would help President Joe Biden‘s administration get to its goal of opening up more schools for in-person learning.

The Board of Education’s mask directive comes as some school districts have already decided to do away with e-learning in the fall, such as Pasco County.

In those counties, students will either have to enter the Florida virtual program or come back to brick-and-mortars.

Major school districts in Florida — such as Hillsborough, Orange, Seminole, Miami-Dade counties — are all still undecided on whether they will continue e-learning for students in the fall.

Staff Reports


  • C W

    April 16, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Mr. Corcoran has an interesting take on infection control. Masks don’t effect the spread of viruses or germs hmmm… I wonder if he needed surgery he would tell the surgeon and nurses performing the procedure that masks were optional?

      • Beth

        April 19, 2021 at 3:21 pm

        [email protected] You cited a right wing think tank as the definitive expert on mask effectiveness. Try to find a source that is not right wing to also support AIER.

    • PDG

      April 17, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Total ignorance. The pours in your typical mask are 40,000 times the size of the COVID molecule and that is if the mask is worn correctly … which of course they are not, especially in kids. Your surgeon comment shows a complete lack of understanding. COVID spreads through aerosolized particles that are extremely small, lighter than air. Masks worn by surgeons only protect from spittle. The mask is nothing but a symbol of obedience to your government that mandates them. Way to show your obedience. Your ignorant comment is exactly what they want to hear.

    • Airwolf

      April 19, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Tell me, Mr. C.W.–WHEN’S the last time you heard of an 8-year-old performing surgery on their teachers , or fellow classmates???

  • Beth

    April 20, 2021 at 5:30 am

    Corcoran is a disgrace to the education system. Just like his racist, radical, corrupt, Republican cronies, he shows a total disregard for science, integrity, and common sense. The dolt actually thinks he knows better than the CDC. The safety of students and teachers do not factor into any of his decisions. His recommendations should be condemned and he should be removed from his position.

  • tom

    April 21, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Let your ignorant comments on masking go. BUT if your child, God forbid, contracts the virus and becomes patient zero. And infects other children. And if your insurance will not pay for treatment for not taking appropriate precaution. And if one should die are you willing to live with it. Dont be stupid. Wear a mask. Try to stay a safe distance. Get unvaccinated. Dont live a lifetime with preventable guilt.

Comments are closed.


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