Seminole County Public Schools announces mask mandate for students

Policy begins Tuesday, will be in effect for 30 days

Seminole County schools to require masks in class unless parents opt out

Seminole County Public Schools announced on Saturday it is implementing a face covering/mask requirement for students, unless a parent chooses to opt out of the requirement.

The policy will begin on Tuesday and be in effect for 30 days, the district announced.

Parents can opt out of the requirement by sending a written note with their signature with their student on the first day of school, the district said.

Students may give the note to their teacher, according to the district.

More and more parents and some school districts are speaking out as the executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, prohibiting mask mandates in schools, is being challenged.

“The instant that they announced that the executive order was signed, my son would not be able to attend school in person,” Alisha Todd said.

Todd said she has a son who falls on the special needs spectrum and says that’s the reason she is joining the list of parents filing a lawsuit against DeSantis, alleging his latest executive order violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“What the executive order did was deny my child access to public schools, I no longer have a choice because essentially sending him in person I’m either risking his physical health and safety or potentially his life,” Todd said.

The lawsuit comes when multiple school districts across the state are now challenging the executive order by making it mandatory for faculty to wear masks as well as students for the first 30 days.

In addition to Seminole County, Orange County now requires the rule, but parents can opt out as described in an audio message from Orange County Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.

“I am implementing required face masks for all students unless a parent chooses to opt out of the requirement, opting out would mean sending a simple note with your child on the first day of school,” she said.

Todd says she understands people who may be against wearing masks in schools, but says for other parents like her she see no compromise.

“The problem is we can’t sink the boat we’re all on, right, and until we can get a good solid case of herd immunity and we have enough people that are vaccinated I don’t really think we will be able to go without the masks,” she said.

Like Seminole County, Orange County will revisit mask policies after 30 days.

A message left for the governor’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.