Some parents push for extension of Orange County school mask mandate, others protest it

Current masking requirements end on Oct. 30

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A group of parents, teachers and local politicians gathered outside the Orange County School Board Monday to urge district leaders to extend mask requirements in the classroom.

Currently, all children and adults are required to wear a face mask during the school day while inside school buildings or in vehicles, including buses.

During the news conference, the group issued a request for the mandate to remain until the end of the year to allow for approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for younger children.

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“Extend the mask mandate just six more weeks,” Parent Lora Vail said. “We are asking that so we can protect children under 12. Children like my son who has not yet been able to be vaccinated.”

The call to extend the mandate came as another group of parents spoke out against mask requirements.

“It should be the parent’s job to decide what’s best for their kids, not the government,” Chris Parker said.

As coronavirus case numbers have declined, school districts have reevaluated mask requirements.

On Monday, Brevard County started allowing parents to submit an opt-out form if they didn’t want their child to wear a mask. Face coverings became optional in Marion County schools Monday and Seminole County Public Schools said masks would be optional starting Nov. 1.

The Orange County School Board has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, however, the topic of masks isn’t on the agenda. Unless a change is made, the current requirement will remain in place until Oct. 30.

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.