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Required Face Masks Are Back At Orange County Public Schools: Read All About the New Policy That Takes Effect Monday

Photo: Anton
Photo: Anton

All Orange County Public School students will be required to wear a face mask starting Monday unless they have a valid exemption. The decision comes as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the county.

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The new district-wide face mask mandate will remain in place for the next 60 days through October 30th. 

All K-12 students and staff will be required to wear a face mask unless they have a medical exemption. 

Board member Melissa Byrd says it’s time to ensure a safer and more productive learning environment with required face masks.

“I had a kindergarten class yesterday now that has to pivot. So these class of kindergartners the entire class is not going to be getting an education. And this is their first experience in school. So that's just infuriating. I have another school that has 116 quarantines yesterday just one day."

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Board Chair Teresa Jacobs says requiring masks in classrooms is not only the smart thing to do, but it's also the patriotic thing to do.

“It is not our goal to ignore the law. It is our goal to challenge it. And that's what we as Americans do."

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The board will meet again in 30 days to rewrite the policy formally requiring face masks. Face shields will no longer qualify as an accepted form of facial covering.

With OCPS' decision, nine districts in the state are now in direct opposition to the governor's executive order banning face mask mandates in schools.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.