Orange Co. school masking rule now includes parental opt-out, remains mandatory for staff

Latest move was made due to the drop in coronavirus cases in Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Parents can once again opt-out their children from wearing a mask at Orange County Public Schools, the district announced Thursday.

Parents who already filled an opt-out form with the school do not have to send in another one. Any parent who has not filled out a form and does not want their child to wear a mask must deliver a signed note to school.

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The district said masks will be required for employees, visitors and volunteers.

District officials said they are projecting to make masks optional for everyone after Dec. 3.

Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said the latest move was made due to the drop in coronavirus cases in Central Florida and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings ending the local state of emergency.

On Thursday, Orange County officials said the 14-day rolling percent positivity rate for COVID-19 was 3.48%.

Health officials said this is the 12th day in a row the 14-day rolling percent positivity rate was below 4%.

“I hope parents will seriously consider the opportunity when available to vaccinate their children in consultation with their medical providers,” Jenkins said.

“The medical advisory committee recommended to the school board very strongly that they keep the mask mandate in place,” President of the Orange County Classroom Association Wendy Doromal said.

Doromal does not agree with the latest move made by the district.

“It wouldn’t hurt at all to keep it in place until the end of the year until the students under age 12 have that opportunity to be fully vaccinated,” Doromal said.

Last week, Brevard County school leaders said parents can opt-out their children from wearing a mask at school.

Seminole County Public Schools will make masks optional for everyone in November, according to district officials.

Masks are optional for school districts Marion, Osceola and Flagler counties.

Here the phone call to parents from OCPS in the media player below:


About the Author:

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