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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Orange County says few students have opted out of mask requirement as other area districts vote to keep masks optional

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2021 at 10:54 AM

click to enlarge Orange County saw few students opting out of its optional mask policy. - ADOBE
  • Adobe
  • Orange County saw few students opting out of its optional mask policy.

Orange County didn't go as far as some school districts in Florida with mask requirements for its students, essentially offering a strong suggestion to mask up in school and requiring students who wanted to opt out to bring a note from their parents.

That burden seems to be working as intended, as the district reported that few students opted out of the mask policy. OCPS Superintendent Barbara Jenkins noted at a recent school board meeting that around 8,000 students brought in a note on the school's first day back, which amounts to just 4% of the student population. The school board weighed the idea of imposing stricter requirements in line with other districts that have defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order banning mask mandates in schools. However, the district's attorney, Amy Envall, advised against it.

"My opinion is yes, we have to follow the executive order 100%. If we don't, we could be in violation of that statute that says we have to follow all laws and remember the executive order has the force and effect of law,” she said.

At the same time that Orange County was touting the success of its "optional with hurdles" approach, school boards in Volusia and Brevard County voted to keep them fully optional. Hospitals throughout the latter county have been straining under a surge of coronavirus cases.

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