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St Lucie Public Schools will require staff members to wear masks indoors until further notice

'I think it's just an extra precaution to be safe,' teacher says
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Posted at 10:33 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 23:20:36-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Teachers and school staff members in St. Lucie County will now be required to wear masks indoors and on buses.

Superintendent Wayne Gent sent an email to staff members Wednesday informing them of the new policy.

This after school board members on Tuesday night passed a requirement for students to wear masks with an option to opt out.

"I think it's just an extra precaution to be safe and, you know, keep it safe for us and keep it safe for the kids," said Alexandra Beaumier, a fourth-grade teacher at Lakewood Park Elementary. "They're trying to keep us safe, so if we wear masks, great."

Others like parent Chris Esposito said teachers should have the choice to opt out like students.

"I think it's very unfair for the teachers, because if they've been vaccinated, they've done everything they're told to do," he said.

On the first day of school, 30 students and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, according to the school district's dashboard.

Gent said in his email that about 500 students and 90 staff members were quarantined.

"This is still America, still freedom of choice and if you've done everything you're supposed to do, I think it should be your discretion," Esposito said.

What remains unclear is whether teachers will be able to provide any exemptions to the new mask rule and what type of masks will be required.

In last year's policy (Chapter 2.91), face shields were not acceptable forms of masks.

"I think a lot of us were wearing masks already, so I don't think it's going to change much," Beaumier said.

Both the superintendent and the school board chair were unavailable for comment Wednesday.