Orange and Broward counties to ease school mask rules
Time to move on? Democrats are focusing on keeping schools open,

High school students wearing masks on their way home
Two big counties make policy changes.

Two of Florida’s largest school districts are easing up on their masks requirement this week.

Starting Monday, Orange County students can stop wearing face masks if their parents provide a note opting them out. In Broward County, high school students can choose to wear a mask starting Monday, and it’s strongly encouraged, but it will still be mandatory for middle and elementary school students.

Orange County Public Schools’ 60-day mask mandate expired Saturday. Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said it would not be extended in part because of the “significant reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases in Orange County.”

The district’s employees, parents and visitors must still wear face masks in schools, Jenkins said, a mandate likely to remain in place until Dec. 3, though that could change based on COVID-19 data, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

In Broward County, board members said mask mandates and current quarantine policies should stay in place for the lower grades until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available for children ages 5 through 11. The vaccine already is available to children 12 years and older.

Eight school districts have defied Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order that only parents should decide if their children wear masks, not school district officials. The state has levied fines against Broward and Alachua counties’ school districts equivalent to the annual salaries of the school board members who voted for mask mandates.

In response, the Biden administration has sent $420,957 to Broward County Public Schools and $148,000 to Alachua County Public Schools to offset the fines.

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Published with permission of the Associated Press.

Associated Press


One comment

  • Edmund Burke

    November 8, 2021 at 10:50 am

    My daughter goes to a private school with 2000 students of every grade in Broward. They have had a voluntary mask policy since the beginning of the year. There have been no COVID issues. The results are easily checked with schools without mandated masks so why do they insist on keeping mask mandates on the elementary students?

    They just can’t give up control no matter how anti-science it is.

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