Brevard school board chair swings mask vote in favor of remaining optional

Brevard Public Schools debated returning to mandatory mask wearing for students, staff

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – After a six-hour meeting Tuesday night following the first day of school, about half of that time spent listening to public comment, the Brevard County school board is keeping masks optional for students and staff by a 3-2 vote.

School board member Jennifer Jenkins, who proposed reinstating the mandate, told News 6 before the school board meeting that she felt the board would vote in favor.

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However, board chair Misty Belford Tuesday night called her proposal for a mandate with an opt-out, “useless.”

With her vote to swing the results to one side or the other, Belford said no.

“To me, we know that people are incredibly passionate about this issue and I’m more focused on outcome,” Belford said. “I think having any opt-out policy would make people feel comfortable, some of them, but I don’t think it’s going to change the number of students that are actually wearing masks in our school and we couldn’t have a straight mandate without an opt-out, according to the state,” she continued.

Jenkins Wednesday called the meeting a “disgrace” in a new Facebook post.

Belford responded, saying, “Perhaps she needs to review procedure and look at the opportunities that lie in front of us for what we can and cannot do.”

Belford said the mask debate could be over for Brevard schools this year, unless something changes on the state level. It’s also worth noting that at any time, a board member can make a new proposal before fellow board members.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.