Parental opt-out for masks in Orange County schools takes effect

Parents, staff, volunteers still required to wears mask inside district buildings

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – For the first time since the beginning of the school year, parents have the ability to choose if their child wears a mask at Orange County Public Schools.

On Monday, classes began with a rule change allowing parents to deliver a signed note to schools to opt out of the district’s mask requirement.

The rule change was announced Thursday after officials said the rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 was 3.48%. Health officials said it was the 12th day in a row the 14-day rolling percent positivity rate was below 4%.

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The rule change also brings OCPS in line with state law, which requires districts to give parents the ability to opt out of mask mandates.

Emilio Concepcion’s daughter attends Primrose School and said the new option wouldn’t change his stance on masks.

“A lot of people are tired of wearing a mask, I understand, but I really don’t want to deal with a sick kid, so I told my daughter to go to school and wear it,” Concepcion said.

The district said masks are still required for employees, visitors and volunteers. District officials said they are projecting to make masks optional for everyone after Dec. 3.

In Seminole County, masks also became optional in public schools on Monday.

The change does not require a signed note from a parent and allows anyone on a school campus to choose if they wish to wear a mask.

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.