Face masks now completely optional in Marion County Public Schools

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Marion County Public Schools announced Friday that face masks are now totally optional for students, staff, visitors and volunteers.

Officials said the changes come after the Florida Department of Health — Marion County released COVID-19 data that met the criteria laid out by the school board’s face-covering resolution.

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That includes the local positivity rate declining to the “substantial” level or lower, with the latest numbers showing this at 4.9%; and the rate of new cases per 100,000 persons declining to the “substantial” level or lower, with the latest numbers showing this at 67.7%.

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As of Friday, both of those numbers have held steady for at least two weeks.

Officials said face coverings can still be worn by anyone on public school property in Marion County.

READ: Coronavirus: Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine over 90% effective for kids ages 5 to 11

Visitors and volunteers will also be welcomed back to campus. Elementary schools in particular can soon schedule campus events that previously were not allowed.

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Sarah Wilson

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.