ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools is loosening its mask requirements for adults.
Starting on Monday, the district said face masks will be voluntary for adults on OCPS campuses. Officials said the reason behind the policy change is the continuing drop of COVID cases in the district and community.
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According to the OCPS COVID dashboard, there were a total of 10 confirmed cases as of Friday.
“(The) time has come to loosen up those mask restrictions,” Seminole County EMS Director Dr. Todd Husty said, agreeing that transmission is low.
“I’ve been pretty much a proponent of masks up until we get to a point where we’re not transmitting this disease around, then sure. Why wear a mask if we’re not transmitting disease?” Husty said.
Florida continues to show signs of improvement. The latest report from the state shows cases and deaths have dropped more than 30% week-to-week.
However, Orange County Classroom Teachers Association President Wendy Doromal believes it’s too early to unmask adults at school.
“I do think it’s premature. I think they should have waited to follow the CDC guidelines,” Doromal said.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidelines. The new guidelines cite people in counties with low levels of COVID can stop wearing masks indoors. In medium-risk counties, masks are still recommended indoors for people at high risk of severe illness. The CDC said those living in high-risk counties should still wear a mask.
According to the CDC, most of Central Florida is in the medium and high categories. Orange County is considered high risk.
“We should follow what the CDC says and they said in high-level settings that we should have masks indoors, including in schools. So when the risk goes down and (we) follow the CDC guidelines, I think that’s the time to unmask the children and adults,” Doromal said.