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Will Schools Require Face Masks When They Open this Fall?

As coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket across the state, we’re all facing some tough questions when it comes to the next few months. We’ve already experienced some reopening rollbacks, like when our state once again shut down bars over fears of increasing positive cases. While we expect to reopen our schools for the coming fall semester, there are questions over what that will look like in our state. Decisions are varying from county to county at this point.

 

County and School Decisions So Far

  • When discussion first began on how to address schools in Pasco County, the leaders said they would not be mandating masks for their students. As of this week, leadership seems to be easing away from that initial decision after school board officials urged to make masks mandatory in their schools.
  • We don’t yet know what fall will look like for students in Brevard County, but for summer classes they have announced that masks will remain optional for their students. Discussions are ongoing for what will happen when August rolls around.
  • In Broward County, one of the hot beds for cases in our state, masks will be mandatory for all students when social distancing isn’t possible. When they are seated in class and more than 6 feet away from their classmates, they will be allowed to remove their masks.
  • Even in the face of parent outrage, Hillsborough County will not mandate masks for returning students. School leadership has made it clear that masks will be available for those who desire them, but they will not force all students to wear a mask when they attend their schools.
  • No mandates have been made regarding the usage of masks in Polk County. Lakeland school officials have decided that masks will not be mandatory for students in their schools, but no county-wide order has been made at this point.

 

Should Masks Be Made Mandatory for Students?

The usefulness of face masks has been hotly contested since the beginning on the pandemic. Even scientific consensus has gone back and forth about just how much masks can protect individuals from getting infected by the virus. However, it seems that Florida is starting to lose its battle in containing the spread of the virus. The past week or two we have watched the number of positive cases explode by several thousand per day. It can’t hurt to take every precaution.

At our office, we’re stressing social distancing to all of our staff when they are not working remotely. We have drastically increased the amount of sanitation we do around the offices and are making every effort to keep our staff safe and healthy. We’re interested to see what additional precautions counties across our state take when it comes to keeping our students safe in their classrooms?

What do you think about your local school districts? Do you support mandatory masks for all staff and students, or do you think that it should be up to the individual family to decide? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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