PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — St. Lucie Public Schools passed a mask requirement with an optional opt out from parents during a school board meeting Tuesday night.
Masks will remain optional for staff but are strongly recommended.
"This variant, as you know, is more contagious," St. Lucie County teachers union president David Freeland said during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting. "We need to keep our students and employees safe."
But not everyone agreed with decision.
"The discomfort of a mask distracts some children from learning by increasing airway resistance during exhalation," one woman said.
Clint Sperber, administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, said just within the past seven days, there have been 280 positive coronavirus cases in children 14 years and younger.
"The vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19," he said.
Superintendent Wayne Gent said it will be decided in the next 48 hours how parents will be able to opt out, whether with a written note or online.
St. Lucie Public Schools is responsible for about 40,000 students. Gent said staff and teachers are not required to wear masks. Gent said, however, he is urging everyone to get vaccinated.
Gent said that, right now, there's no virtual option.