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Masks will be optional for summer school in Marion County

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The Marion County School Board agreed today Thursday that masks will be optional during summer school.

The district will keep other coronavirus mitigation efforts in place and strive for social distancing.

The School Board’s consensus comes as COVID-19 case numbers decline and surveys show parents and staff prefer optional masks.

The board reviewed data showing relatively few hospitalizations among local children and zero deaths.

Board member Beth McCall is 100 percent in favor of the change.

“The survey indicates that people are comfortable — a large majority of people are comfortable — and I think optional masks,” she said. “And I’d like to go on record saying I’d like to see that continue through the next school year.”

Other members, like Eric Cummings, emphasize that optional means optional and there should be no bullying.

“We don’t need the staff disciplining a kid because they wear a mask or they don’t wear a mas,” he added.

The district will flip summer classes to online when exposure makes quarantining necessary.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.