School board ends mask mandate

After going into a parent opt out on Oct. 29 the school board has now transitioned back to mask being optional for middle and high schools starting Nov. 1. The change comes after major conflict and controversies over the mandate from both students and parents. The decision in part because the parent opt out has added a lot of work and concern for school staff which was not intended.

“The administration, from the people I’ve talked to, are trying to mitigate this as much as possible, but you have people emailing, carrying in forms … I mean, it’s just a lot of work,” School board member Matt Susin said. “And we heard from employee groups that everyone is stressed out.”

As with any COVID 19 policy changes the news drew mixed reactions.

Sophomore Jadyn Rutherfoard has been looking forward to the end of the mask mandate. 

“I think we able to chose whether we want to wear one or not,” she said. “I definitely won’t be wearing a mask starting Monday. It gets so hot in Florida and masks really don’t help with that,” she said.

Eighth-grader Aditya N. said she’s worried about spreading COVID-19 to non vaccinated people when not wearing a mask. 

“I am probably still going to be wearing a mask because my sister isn’t vaccinated yet,” Aditya said. “I am not really sure about masks being optional. I’m still debating whether its a good idea.”

Although masks are now optional for grades 7-12, elementary school students are still required to wear masks unless their parents sign an opt-out form.

“I don’t love the idea of an opt out, either,” school board member Misty Belford said. “This is the crux of my choice and we still do not have vaccines available for [children under 12].”

By Léo Esbelin