BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Almost two weeks after Brevard Public Schools allowed parents to opt out of masks for their students, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran thanked the school district for the change in policy, News 6 Florida Today reports.
“I’d like to sincerely thank @leonschools and @brevardschools for reversing their mandatory mask policies by empowering parents,” Corcoran tweeted Wednesday night. “Let’s keep working together to provide students a world-class education”
On Oct. 22, BPS notified parents that the district would start allowing parents to opt their children out of masks. The mask mandate had authorized Superintendent Mark Mullins to include the opt out if weekly COVID-19 cases in Brevard dropped to 50 per 100,000; that day, the Florida Department of Health informed BPS that cases had fallen to 50.1 per 100,000.
The school board voted 3-2 last Tuesday to extend the mask mandate for 30 days for students in grades pre-k through 6 who were not yet old enough to be vaccinated -- but, unlike the earlier mandate, this one allows parents to opt out. The new policy went into effect Saturday.
The Florida Board of Education had notified the School Board Oct. 12 that it would withhold board members’ salaries as long as the board refused to allow parents sole discretion on whether their children should wear face coverings.
The school board first implemented the mask mandate on Aug. 30 in response to rising COVID-19 cases, with over a thousand students and staff members testing positive per week in late August. Since then, cases have declined, less than 30 weekly cases reported in recent weeks.
In Leon County, the school district reversed a rule requiring COVID-19-exposed students to wear masks if they did not choose to quarantine, bringing the district into compliance with state rules requiring parents to be given “sole discretion” on whether kids wear masks.