Mask mandates remain for some local schools after cancellation of COVID-19 emergency orders

Mask mandates remain for some local schools after cancelation of COVID-19 emergency orders
Mask mandates remain for some local schools after cancelation of COVID-19 emergency orders

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Monday to suspend all COVID-19 emergency orders issued by local governments in Florida, questions arose amongst many parents about mask and distancing rules in their child’s school.

“Questions have arisen over the impacts of the Executive Orders EO-21-101, which is not effective until July 1, 2021, and EO-21-102, which is effective immediately,” a message distributed Tuesday by the Florida Department of Education said.

The executive orders signed by the governor only impact the local ordinances that were created through the emergency enactment process.

School districts like Duval County Public Schools which have imposed COVID-19 safety rules -- such as mask requirements or social distancing guidelines -- have done so through their normal policy process.

Several school districts in Northeast Florida have mask requirements still in place -- whether throughout their entire school buildings or only in certain settings. Meanwhile, other districts are either “strongly encouraging” the use of face-coverings (but not outright requiring their use), or leaving the practice completely optional.

School DistrictMask Requirement Status
DuvalRequired
St. JohnsRequired
ClayRequired
NassauRequired
BakerOptional
BradfordOptional
PutnamRequired
ColumbiaOptional
UnionOptional

The CDC’s latest guidance on the use of masks and social distancing takes one’s vaccination into account.

The agency recently eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers.

Still, COVID-19 cases in children represented more than 22% of new infections in the past week, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The same report showed the state of Florida has the smallest cumulative percentage of COVID-19 cases that were children, as of April 29.


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