Orange County school leaders set to hear from parents about making face masks optional

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public School leaders will hear from parents about its face mask policy for the upcoming school year.

A final decision has not been made yet, but the school district seems to be leaning toward making masks optional.

Parents are passionate about the mask debate. They will be able to speak out at a workshop on Thursday at the Orange County Public School headquarters.

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Many parents say the mask policy will help them choose between in-person or online learning for their children.

“Make masks optional,” said Justin Robert. “Leave it up to the parents.”

Another parent said he didn’t feel safe sending his children back if masks are optional.

“The school board is forcing me to make a choice between educating my child or potentially exposing him to COVID, which could kill him.” Ryan Hayes said.

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Last school year, face masks were mandatory for students in Orange County Public Schools.

The school district is set to start the workshop at 1 p.m.

Parents said they want a decision now.

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“It’s interesting to me how Orange County Public Schools has been dragging their feet so much, you know, they’re almost the last county to go ahead and announce it,” Robert said.

Leaders said they plan to make a decision before the end of July, which is before the deadline for parents to sign their children up for Orange County Virtual School.

Katlyn Brieskorn,

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