Lake County schools to implement risk-based face mask mandate at select schools

LAKE COUNTY, FLA. — Lake County school board members voted to implement a face mask mandate at select schools on Thursday.

They voted for a risk-based expansion of the mask policy with a parental opt-out.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

If a school has a positive rate of 5% or higher, masks will be required until the cases are under control.

The board rejected a stricter suggestion that added a medical opt-out if Gov. Ron DeSantis loses his appeal on the school mask mandate issue.

Photos: Anti, pro-masking demonstrators clash ahead of Lake County School Board meeting

Teachers and staff at the affected schools will also be required to wear masks.

“This is all about the kids and doing every single thing we can do,” said Amanda Lauren, a parent. “Even if we keep two kids more safe than what they were last week, then we’ve accomplished something. We cannot continue to allow political beliefs and personal beliefs to impact the safety and the welfare of our neighbors’ children. This is a community effort.”

READ: Are mask mandates in schools legal? What’s next in Florida’s court battle

After the meeting, School Board Chair Bill Mathias said he’s glad to see an agreement on safely moving forward.

“It still protects their parental rights at the same time it answers the call for administrators who said they desperately need to do something to get it under control and so we really did thread the needle on this,” Mathias said.

READ: ‘We’re in a tough stretch’: Biden announces new COVID-19 mandates for millions of Americans

The new policy starts Monday for schools with the highest infection rates, and parents are scheduled to be notified on Friday.

Officials said the system will work based on new data analyzed from the health department every two weeks.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.