VERO BEACH, Fla. — Indian River County School Board members voted 3-2 Tuesday to mandate masks for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The mandate will begin Monday and will last until at least Sep. 15.
"Wearing a mask is not a big deal," said one student during public comment Tuesday. "It doesn't hurt and it can keep you and your family and other people safe and healthy."
The new mandate does not allow parents to opt their children out. However, some medical exemptions will apply.
"It's not the government's job to protect my health, nor the school district's to protect my children's health," said one parent.
Superintendent Dr. David Moore said high school students only account for a fraction of the positive cases and that those students are able to receive the vaccine.
"Masks don't work and they keep kids isolated," said another parent. "They don't do anything for them. They don't protect them from COVID."
To date, 128 students and 74 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Board members said they plan to revisit the issue at their next board meeting.
"The only reason people are fighting this right now is because they're putting their comfort over their health and their kids' health and their peers' health," said one student.