Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Orange County Public Schools impose universal mask mandate for 60 days

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2021 at 11:03 AM

click to enlarge OCPS will require all students to wear masks, starting Monday. - ADOBE
  • Adobe
  • OCPS will require all students to wear masks, starting Monday.

Orange County Public Schools voted to impose a 60-day mask mandate on all students at their school board meeting on Tuesday.

The decision came the day after OCPS saw its single highest day of new COVID-19 cases yet. August 23 saw 382 new confirmed coronavirus cases among students and 37 cases among faculty.

The district's teachers union gathered before the meeting to hold a protest calling for stricter mask policies. In a representative post of the the mood of the union, representatives vented to Facebook over the county's lax mask requirements.

"Your decisions are responsible for our children getting sick. Your decisions are responsible for our employees getting sick," they wrote. "Your denial of CDC-recommended guidelines, your failure to notify parents and employees of positive cases in real time, your blotched quarantine system that you blame on FLDOH, your nontransparent COVID-19 dashboard, your lack of urgency to act, and your failure to lead has now caused more illness in our schools, worksites and community."

The new mask mandate will require all students to wear masks on campus for 60 days. The rule contains a medical exemption that can only be granted with a note from a doctor or medical practitioner. The vote urged superintendent Barbara Jenkins to issue the mandate and she set a start date of next Monday, August 30.

Orange County is the ninth school district in Florida to defy state orders against mask mandates in schools. The Department of Education has threatened to pull funding equivalent to the salaries of school board members and superintendents in districts that fail to comply. This wasn't enough of a threat for OCPS representatives.

“There is no other motivation for me as a school board member, other than to keep our children and our employees safe,”Chairwoman Teresa Jacobs. “This is not about my salary.”

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation