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All adults including teachers must wear face masks again starting Tuesday at Orange County Public Schools

The state imposed financial penalties on school districts that required students to wear masks to protect against COVID-19. (Brastock Images/Stock.Adobe.Co)
The state imposed financial penalties on school districts that required students to wear masks to protect against COVID-19. (Brastock Images/Stock.Adobe.Co)

Orange County Public Schools will require all adults on campus to wear face masks.

The decision came just hours before students were expected to return to in-person classes following the long winter break. 

In a Tweet, OCPS Superintendent Barbara Jenkins says, “As a result of the significant increase in positivity rate, and in an effort to protect our workforce, I have determined that all adults including employees, visitors and vendors, will be required to wear a face mask in OCPS buildings and vehicles through the month of January.”

In a separate Tweet OCPS Chair Teresa Jacobs says, “I appreciate the concern I've heard regarding the highly contagious nature of Omicron and the return to school. Although we are legally prohibited from mandating masks for students, I am relieved to say the superintendent is reinstating the adult mask mandate starting tomorrow.” 

Face masks are still only strongly recommended for students after Gov. Ron DeSantis and the legislature strengthened bans on face mask mandates at schools and workplaces during a special legislative session last year.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.