Florida Education Commissioner asks districts to make face masks voluntary next school year

Richard Corcoran said face masks inhibit peer-to-peer learning

Florida official calls for no more masks for students
Florida official calls for no more masks for students

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is asking school districts to make mandatory face mask policies voluntary for the next school year.

The request amid the coronavirus pandemic was sent in a memo to each superintendent in the state.

“The data shows us that districts’ face covering policies do not impact the spread of the virus,” Corcoran wrote.

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Corcoran said face masks are a personal decision.

“Broad sweeping mandatory face covering policies serve no remaining good at this point in our schools,” Corcoran said.

Stephanie Fuller, whose daughter is a freshman at Lake Mary High School, told News 6 she thought it was a bad idea and that her daughter will continue to wear a mask until the risk is lessened.

Parents react to education commissioner asking districts to make face masks voluntary next school year
Parents react to education commissioner asking districts to make face masks voluntary next school year

“I think before they remove the mask mandate, we need to get the vaccine approval for children,” she said.

Corcoran said the mandatory policies inhibit peer-to-peer learning in the classroom.

The commissioner expects more students to participate in face-to-face learning next year.

“We ask that districts, which currently are implementing a mandated face covering policy, revise their policy to be voluntary for the 2021-22 school year,” Corcoran said.

Phyllis Mcarthur, who has two sons at Lake Mary High School, agreed with the decision because students are “more focused on their mask and pulling it down to eat.”

“I still think they should be six feet apart, social distanced,” Mcarthur said. “But if they have the vaccine, they shouldn’t be required to wear a mask.”

Marion County Public Schools spokesman Kevin Christian said the school board would have to make a move before the district made any changes.

“Our face covering resolution remains in place for now if safe social distancing is not possible,” Christian said.

Seminole County Public Schools Communications Officer Michael Lawrence said district leaders will discuss the memo.

“At present, we haven’t made any specific decisions regarding the 2021-2022 school year. However, those discussions are planned and will be had in the near future,” Lawrence said.


About the Author:

Jon is a Web Producer for ClickOrlando and has been with News 6 since March 2019.