OCPS mask mandate for employees goes into effect, leaders give update on back-to-school safety

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools’ mask mandate went into effect for all district employees and visitors on Friday.

During a news conference Friday, the district encouraged everyone, including students, to wear a face mask.

More than 200,000 students are preparing to return to school on Tuesday.

READ: Back to school: When does school start in your county?

“We’re committed to safety in our control. (We) encourage everyone to wear their face masks, have the children wear their face mask(s). Its an additional layer of protection that just helps everyone,” Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said.

Members of law enforcement also attended the meeting.

READ: OCPS to require employees, visitors to wear face masks while indoors

“We’re happy to announce compared to last year we saw (a) 61% decrease in school threats and an 83% decrease in threats to students by other students,” Sheriff John Mina said.

Mina emphasized the additional training that his officers receive to better handle crisis situations.

READ: Here are the COVID-19 protocols for students, staff in Central Florida as new school year begins

“All of our school resource officers go through 40 hours of crisis intervention training. Additionally, they all go through SRO training and specific autism training,” he said.

School officials also stressed that the community should be patient as they continue to face an unpredictable school year.

Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.