Florida’s education commissioner calls for schools to remove mask mandates in the fall

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Florida’s education commissioner wants all school districts to get rid of mask mandates.

Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said in a memo that masks “serve no remaining good” and said he wants them to be voluntary in schools by the fall.

Orange County school leaders said they know this is a hot topic, but were caught off-guard by the memo.

READ: Lake County Schools announces 2021 graduation dates and locations

School Board Member Melissa Byrd has two girls learning in-person right now. She said the policy will be addressed, but it’s too soon to make a decision.

“That’s four months away, a lot can change in four months,” Byrd said. “So it’s hard to say. In Orange County, we’re looking at positivity rates that are rising for five- to 14-year-olds right now.”

READ: Florida House passes bill to ban transgender females from competing in girls’ and women’s sports

Parent Patrick Moore said he was pleased to hear about Corcoran’s memo.

“If there’s a mask mandate in the fall, I’m moving to the islands, I’m out,” Moore said.

READ: Orange County Public Schools is expanding summer school after falling grades

In Central Florida, Lake County has already announced that its mask policy will be optional in the fall if data supports it.

The other seven districts say they’re waiting to see where things are closer to the beginning of the school year.

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.