ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – On the heels of new guidance released from the American Academy of Pediatrics on masks in schools, the Orange County teachers union has called for a change to the mask policy that was just voted on one week ago by the Orange County school board.
But the district told News 6, right now, they are not revisiting that policy.
“For right now, and we’re about three weeks out right now from the first day of students returning, masks are optional,” Scott Howat, Chief Communications Officer for Orange County Public Schools, said.
Howat called the situation fluid, adding that a lot can happen in 3 weeks.
“I think you can always see a change if the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or local governmental entities issue guidance that mandates masking, even you know for specific ages, or specific grade levels,” Howat said.
But pediatrician, Dr. Candice Jones, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said masks should be worn in schools.
On Monday, the AAP issued a new recommendation that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask in school, regardless of whether they are vaccinated.
“The reasoning behind that is that not all students will be vaccinated, so we’ll have this mix of vaccinated students and unvaccinated students when the next school year starts, also the variants are on the rise,” Dr. Jones said.
The President of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, Wendy Doromal, said the union would also like to see masks this fall.
“We’ve been hearing from a lot of teachers since yesterday who are very concerned; we do know that the CDC has said they are going to revisit the recommendations that they’ve sent out, and we just think that it’s best when you’re dealing with a pandemic to error on the side of caution,” Doromal said.
Howat said the district’s new mask policy takes effect Aug. 2 and added that currently in Orange County’s summer school program, there is a mandatory mask policy in place for students and staff.