Brevard County schools won’t take up another mask debate as COVID cases rise

Masking to stay optional under Florida law, school board chair says

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Picking up Capeview Elementary students after their first day of the semester, some families expressed concern while others expressed no concern about kids and the Omicron variant.

Throughout Brevard County, officials now report 800 COVID cases per 100,000 people, up from 50 cases per 100,000 in December.

‘’Incredibly frustrating for everyone, I think,’’ school board chair Misty Belford said. ‘’We thought, maybe, we were over it last year.’’

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This semester, Belford does not think a debate over mandating masks or keeping them optional will happen again.

Belford said the special legislative session in November that passed stronger laws against mask mandates in schools should keep the district out of another discussion, whether board members like it or not.

Belford was one of three board members supporting the district’s mask mandate last semester.

‘’I have concerns, obviously, we see that numbers are very high,’’ Belford said. ‘’Even if people are not hospitalized, they’re missing work. They’re missing school.’’

Charles Baird said his 6-year-old grandson is still wearing his mask in school.

‘’I think it ought to go back to mandatory until they get a grip on this stuff,’’ the grandfather said.

Tammy Mucker said kids like her son in kindergarten don’t want to wear masks.

‘’He’s not going to keep it on all day, anyway,’’ the mother said.

About the Author:

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.