Volusia starts new school year with masks required for staff, visitors

Face coverings remain optional for students

The new school year in Volusia County is coming with changes.

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Students went back to class Monday in Volusia County where new face-covering rules were put in place for the beginning of the school year.

Masks are optional for students but are required for all teachers, staff and visitors in school facilities.

Paul Maclennan dropped off his daughter at Mainland High School early Monday and said there were feelings of anxiety.

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“It’s my daughter’s first day coming in as a freshman,” he said. “She’s nervous, (but) I think she’ll be fine. She’s going to mask up.”

Maclennan took issue with the district’s mask policy. It falls in line with an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, which bans mask mandates for students.

“I think it’s a very cavalier attitude to take with the health of our kids,” Maclennan said. “You always air on the side of caution, as far as I’m concerned.”

Janos Staats also said her son would be wearing his mask even though it’s not required.

“It’s not optional for my son. He has to wear his,” Staats said. “I think it’s ridiculous, but that’s my opinion. I think everybody should wear them.”

District leaders have said cleaning and sanitation measures will continue throughout the school year. While masks are optional for students, they’re urged to follow social distancing measures when possible.

“My concern is them not having to wear their masks, but if they’re cleaning and doing what they’re supposed to cleaning-wise, as long as my son wears his mask, I’m okay,” Staats said.

According to the district, the mask mandate for teachers, staff and visitors will remain for at least 30 days. The superintendent will then reevaluate and adjust the policy if needed.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.