HomeEducationSchool board votes to extend mask mandate for 8 weeks, no parental opt-out
School board votes to extend mask mandate for 8 weeks, no parental opt-out
August 17, 2021
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Tonight the Alachua County School Board voted unanimously to extend the school mask mandate for another 8 weeks and not allow the parental opt-out required by the Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Education.
After over 3 hours of public discussion, with members of the public on both sides of the issue, Member Rob Hyatt said “To me, it’s not being defiant; it’s being reactive to what the situation is… I’m not looking for a fight… I have to depend on the expertise of the folks who are helping us.”
Member Gunnar Paulson said he wanted the school board to have a plan after the 8 weeks are up, but it was unclear what he was proposing.
Member Tina Certain said, “This is a public health issue… We have to use all the tools that are at our disposal… Our greatest tool that we have in our bag is masking.”
Chair Leanetta McNealy said, “This is important… I know it is my right to do the best of the best… I cannot take one child. We’ve already lost one, but I cannot fathom one other child, not one, getting very ill in the COVID-19, the Delta variant… The variants aren’t going anywhere… We’ll mask more. We’ll vaccinate more… We’ll social distance, and every school that’s being built from here on out will have more square footage.” She said she was upset at what Simon “had to go through” in the meeting with the FLDOE. She said she couldn’t even say the word for her opinion of some of the questions that were asked of Simon. “She was on point, and no matter how they tried to twist… she stuck to what this is all about… They’d like for all of us to be unseated… because we’re standing for what is right.”
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After the unanimous vote, McNealy said they would re-evaluate in 8 weeks.
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