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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Orange County schools make face masks optional for teachers, starting tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Nov 10, 2021 at 1:53 PM

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In an email to faculty and staff, Orange County Public Schools announced that face masks would be entirely optional for employees of the district starting tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 11).

The end of the faculty mask mandate was not discussed at the school board's most recent meeting and the announcement seemed to come as a shock to OCPS employees. The two-sentence email sent to employees and shared with Orlando Weekly gave no justification for or discussion of the change in policy. The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association reported that the recent actions of the district have pushed several of their members to resign.

"OCPS showed extreme disrespect to every teacher, parent and the [teachers union] by issuing a one-day notice that masks would be optional for employees. There are individuals with underlying conditions — employees and students who now have one-day notice to make decisions regarding their health," said union president Wendy Doromal. "The District makes important decisions behind closed doors without even notifying or consulting with stakeholders. It is unclassy, and just one of the many reasons that teachers are resigning."

The district allowed its mask mandate for students to expire on Oct. 30, over the protestations of some parents groups. When reached by Orlando Weekly, representatives confirmed the change in policy but declined to comment further.

Volunteers and visitors will still be required to wear masks while on OCPS property. 

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