Brevard County Schools approves mask opt-out option if COVID-19 spread lessens

Modified mask mandate starts once Brevard County sees 50 cases per 100,000

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Brevard County school board voted Tuesday 3-2 in favor of transitioning to a policy that would give parents the choice to opt-out their children from the districtwide mask mandate.

According to the school board, the modified mask mandate would only occur when community spread dips to 50 cases per 100,000. The new rule must be authorized by Brevard County Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins.

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The school board has been under pressure from the Florida Department of Education to offer an opt-out option for parents, having previously been issued two letters saying the state would withhold board member salaries if the county did not comply with the state’s rule against mask mandates.

The recent decision by the Florida Department of Health to allow parents to opt asymptomatic children out of quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 led Brevard County Schools to reconsider mask mandates at Tuesday’s special meeting.

Chair Misty Belford said she believes when she addresses the board of education Thursday, she can show the district a path to allowing opt-outs.

‘’I think we have a strong argument along with our constitutional responsibility to create safe school environments,’’ Belford said.

School board vice-chair Matt Susin disagreed with Belford.

‘’I’m not going to vote for something that I believe is unlawful from the beginning,’’ Susin said following the meeting.

The modification of the district’s policy now extends the mandate to run until Oct. 29.

About the Authors:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.

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.