Volusia County School Board approves temporary mask mandate

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — In another late, contentious school board meeting, Volusia Public Schools became the latest to implement a district-wide mask mandate despite an order by the governor banning such policies.

Last week, both Brevard and Orange County’s school boards enacted policies requiring masks, at least temporarily, for students and staff. That was before a judge’s ruling Friday blocking Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban.

READ: Judge blocks Gov. DeSantis’ order banning mask mandates

Volusia County School Board members called for an emergency meeting Tuesday specifically to discuss a potential mask mandate.

Board members debated the issue before hearing an additional two hours of public comment.

READ: Brevard School Board votes to reinstate mask mandate

“If someone can tell me another way, fine,” one board member said. “It appears everyone tossed out every other mitigating strategy.”

The debate continued late into the night before board members finally agreed on a mandatory mask policy effective Tuesday, Sept. 7, and remaining in place through October 15. The rule allows parents who wish to opt out for medical reasons an additional three days to acquire a note.

“It’s our mission to educate children, and right now, we are not doing that well.”

READ: DOE doesn’t back down, threatens Orange County Schools over mask mandate after judge’s ruling

According to the school district, less than a third of its teenagers have been vaccinated against COVID-19. In the first two weeks of school this year, they’ve recorded 10 times as many new cases as they did over the same time period a year ago.

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