St. Lucie County superintendent speaks on face masks, virtual learning

'We're highly recommending parents to put masks on their children,' superintendent says
kids masks classroom school children
Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 17:37:46-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — St. Lucie County students returned to school on Tuesday. At the moment, the district is all in-person learning. So the question is, what's the mask policy?

"We're highly recommending parents to put masks on their children, but that is a parent's choice," St. Lucie County Superintendent Wayne Gent said.

In fact, the district can't make it less than a parent's decision given Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order that forbids mandates.

Gent believes parents have a tough decision to make, but he believes parents should do their homework when it comes to facial coverings.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with airing on the side of caution to make sure your children are protected," he said.

With positivity rates rising, the next question is, will virtual learning be implemented again?

Gent said, right now, there's no virtual option.

"What we'll be doing in our district is if a child tests positive and has to go home or if a student has to be quarantined, then we've got a computer we'll give them," he said. "There's an online platform. It's called Canvas and they can follow, not their teacher, but their lessons."

St. Lucie Public Schools are responsible for about 40,000 students. Gent said staff and teachers are not required to wear masks. He said, however, he is urging everyone to get vaccinated.

"If we have to make tough decisions, we're ready to make those as well," he said. "But we want to see those boys and girls tomorrow coming getting dropped off."