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Face Masks Won't be Mandatory in Orange County Public Schools in the Fall...For Now

Photo: Jairo Gonzalez
Photo: Jairo Gonzalez

The Orange County School Board voted 7-1 to make face masks optional in the fall at Orange County Public Schools during a meeting Thursday night.

Board member Linda Kobert spoke in favor of making masks optional as in every other public and private space right now in the county, masks are not required.

“If we were to continue the mask mandate, our children would be the only citizens in Orange County left under a mask mandate. No other citizens in Orange County exist under that mandate.”

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Kobert says families with medical concerns should consult with their physicians.

Board member Johanna López says as a mom, she thinks it should be up to each individual parent to decide if their child needs to wear a mask. 

But she along with the other board members voted to keep an amendment that would allow Superintendent Barbara Jenkins to reinstate a mask mandate if necessary.

“So even though I will be voting in favor of the optional masking, because I trust that if something happened with the numbers in the county, we will be very assertive in having that meeting and go back to the masking, because it’s about life, it's not about political issues at this point.”

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Jenkins said at the meeting that she would consult with the board along with Dr. Raul Pino before making a decision to reinstate a mask mandate. 

Currently the county is experiencing a surge in cases caused by the spread of the Delta variant.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.