New mask mandate starts for Orange County students

Move comes

Parents react to Orange County Public Schools implementing mask mandate.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Students in Orange County are now required to wear masks for the next 60 days.

The new mandate took effect Monday after school leaders saw a rise in coronavirus cases throughout the district.

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Tabatha Webb said her two sons have been wearing masks since classes began a few weeks ago at Pershing School K-8.

“Personally, I prefer it. The masks, I think, is the safest thing for our kids to do as they go to school,” Webb said.

OCPS said students can no longer opt out of wearing masks in class unless they have a note from their doctor.

Parent Mary Brown brought a doctor’s note for her daughter, who’s in kindergarten.

“Most of the kids were already wearing masks, so she was like, ‘OK, cool, no problem,’ so she knows that if she doesn’t want to then there’s the doctor’s note option, and that’s definitely fine with us,” Brown said.

The mandate also comes after a court ruled on Friday that the state’s ban on full mandates is not legal even though the decision is being appealed.

Eric Giere, who dropped off his daughter to school on Monday, believes parents should still have the option if they want their kids to wear a mask in school.

“If she has to wear a mask, she wears a mask. I’m not that against it, but I don’t want her to wear a mask,” Giere said.

OCPS said the new rule will run through the end of October.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!