Orange County

OCPS health officials discuss if schools should reopen in waves

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public School’s Medical Advisory Committee on Wednesday discussed whether the district should reopen schools in waves.

Students began distance learning on Monday, and in-person learning is expected to start in brick-and-mortar classrooms next Friday.

Read: Orange County Public Schools approves mask policy, says distance learning is new default for students not enrolled in any option

The bulk of the meeting Wednesday was spent reviewing a 78-page document. The school district drafted the handbook filled with health and safety procedures, largely for students and staff who would take part in in-person learning.

The committee focused on the first several pages, which have to do with masks and social distancing.

Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins reiterated that six feet would not be possible in every classroom, and that’s why masks are now mandatory.

Read” Parents of man shot in back by Orange County deputy push for body camera to be released

But there are exceptions in the policy that were approved on Tuesday night. You do not have to wear a mask if you can provide a doctor’s note outlining why you can’t wear one.

Some committee members seemed worried about that exception.

“If you give them the option, they will create havoc for people out there and it’s just not fair to the school to the system, and it’s not fair to the children who actually need it,” said pediatric pulmonologist and committee member Dr. Akinyemi Ajayi.

The committee also discussed if schools should even open for face-to-face learning next week.

A majority of the committee seemed to believe that middle school students and younger could return, and that data shows younger children are less affected by the virus and less likely to spread it to others.

The committee will continue the discussion on Friday.

Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.