Mask policies to remain in place at Palm Beach County schools

Students not adhering to mask policy may be assigned to distance learning
Child wearing mask
Posted at 7:02 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 23:21:12-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Students and staff at Palm Beach County schools will still have to wear masks while on campus.

That's according to a statement Monday from the School District of Palm Beach County following Gov. Ron DeSantis immediately suspending all local emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: State of Education

The school district does not have an emergency order in place relating to facial coverings.

However, it does have a COVID-19 student policy and a COVID-19 employee policy, both of which require the wearing of facial coverings on district property.

School officials said Monday both of these policies will remain in place until further notice and cited recommendations from the CDC and other health officials.

"Evidence continues to show that most COVID-19 cases are brought onto our campuses, not transmitted within our campuses. Health officials attribute the very low transmission rates in our schools to social distancing practices and the mandatory wearing of facial coverings," the school district said Monday.

Angelique Contreras, is a mom and part of the group, "Unmask the Kids."

"I believe that the kids need to be able to go to school without a mask on," Contreras said.

Contreras' daughter, Aubriana, is in the fifth grade at Palm Springs Elementary, but she's still learning virtually from home because Contreras believes wearing a mask for seven to eight hours a day is not healthy.

"Local municipalities should no longer have the power to dictate people's lives and have the freedom to choose if they want to wear a mask or not wear a mask," said Contreras, who is looking forward to the day when masks are a thing of the past. "My hope is, and I know other parents' hopes are, that they will be able to get back to normal and get their kids participating in school full-time without masks on."

Students not adhering to the district's mask policy are subject to consequences outlined in the student code of conduct and may be assigned to distance learning.

"The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be the school board's top priority. The district is continually working with the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, which is conducting contact tracing in our schools," the school district said.

It is unclear if Palm Beach County will lift its county mask mandate, which has been in place for more than year. However, Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth said if he was a "betting man," the likelihood was strong.