Volusia approves school mask mandate during contentious hearing

Students K-12 will have to wear masks from Sept. 7 to Oct. 15

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County School Board voted Tuesday night to implement a mask mandate for students during a contentious hearing.

The new policy passed by a 3-2 vote, meaning students K-12 will have to wear masks from Sept. 7 to Oct. 15. Board members said there would be a three-day grace period.

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Students can opt out of the policy, but only with a note from a doctor.

Several parents and students spoke during the hearing, which became boisterous at times, including after the final vote was announced.

“It is not reasonable to mask healthy children. We are not at high risk of hospitalization or death. Masking us does more harm than good,” a student said. “In America, there’s a 12,000 times more likely chance the Earth will suffer an extinction level meteor strike than a child dying of COVID. Maybe we should mandate helmets to protect against the asteroid.”

“I definitely believe that people should have the right to choose,” said Ian Nemecek, parent of a third-grade student. “Parents should have the right to choose if they have their kids in masks or not. People don’t want other politicians or other parents or school board members making decisions for our children. We want to make our own decisions for our children.”

Others were in favor of the mandate.

“Due to the rise in the delta variant, current CDC guidance says all people 2 and older should wear masks at school. I rely on the experts at the CDC to be valid,” an adult said.

On Monday, Brevard County voted 3-2 in favor of a 30-day mask policy. Students there can also opt out of the policy with a note from a doctor.

Orange County students will have to wear masks until the end of October. Just like in Brevard and Volusia counties, students can opt-out of the policy with a doctor’s note.

About the Author:

Jon is a Web Producer for ClickOrlando and has been with News 6 since March 2019.