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Mask opt-out forms no longer required at Palm Beach County schools

School District of Palm Beach County modifies policy after DeSantis signs new legislation into law
School children wearing masks
Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 19, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Students in Palm Beach County public schools will no longer need to opt-out of wearing masks.

The School District of Palm Beach announced Friday that it has transitioned from a parental opt-out to an optional status because of legislation approved during the special legislative session and signed into law Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Under the new law, school districts in Florida may not have face mask policies.

Gov. Ron DeSantis displays signed bill protecting Floridians from coronavirus vaccine and mask mandates, Nov. 18, 2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up a signed bill for supporters and members of the media during a news conference Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Brandon, Fla. DeSantis signed a bill that protects employees and their families from coronavirus vaccine and mask mandates.

"Opt-out forms are no longer required for students whose parents or guardians would prefer that they do not wear a facial covering," the district said in an email to parents and employees.

The district reinstated its mask opt-out policy earlier this month after a Florida judge ruled that DeSantis was within his authority to impose parental choice.

Although masks are now optional and the parental opt-out is no longer necessary, the district still "strongly encourages" them, "particularly in situations in which social distancing is not possible."

Facial coverings are no longer required for district employees or visitors.

"Superintendent Mike Burke and school board members extend their gratitude to our students, staff and visitors for cooperating in all of the protective measures put in place to mitigate the transmission of the virus and help Palm Beach County get to this point of recovery," the district email said.

School is out all next week for the Thanksgiving break.