ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools is set to vote on its mask policy this week.
Wendy Doromal, the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, said the district shouldn’t lift the mask mandate.
“The socially responsible thing to do right now is probably to wear a mask while this delta variant is surging in our community,” Doromal said.
Doromal and many others spoke out during last month’s school board meeting. Some called for masks to be optional.
“You’re playing with our emotions. Enough is enough. Please make masks optional,” one woman said.
Others suggested keeping face coverings for younger students.
“I feel that we should keep the mask mandate for elementary students because there is not yet a COVID-19 vaccine out for elementary students,” another person said.
This comes as the CDC released new guidelines last week which said fully vaccinated students and teachers will not have to wear masks in the fall. According to the latest data provided by the state health department, nearly 27% of children between 12 and 17 years old are fully vaccinated in Orange County.
Doromal said many teachers will still wear masks in the classroom.
“And that’s because there is no way in knowing who is vaccinated and who is not vaccinated, so to protect themselves, their families and the community a lot of them will opt to wear masks,” she said.
The guidelines also said masks should be worn by people ages 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated. Doromal said that goes for elementary students, since there isn’t a vaccine approved for them yet.
But she said it looks like the proposed changes are moving forward.
“I think they’re very, have dug their heels in on this issue and probably want to follow what the other districts are doing,” Doromal said.
The school board will make its final vote on the mask policy on Tuesday, July 13. If approved, it would go into effect no later than Aug. 2.
Brevard, Osceola, Flagler, Lake, Marion, and Seminole counties all have optional mask policies in place.