Superintendent Simon: “We have no plans to change our current masking requirement”

Press release from Alachua County Public Schools

Statement from Dr. Carlee Simon, Superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools, regarding the Florida Department of Education Order issued August 20, 2021

Alachua County Public Schools will be responding to the Florida Department of Education’s order, but we have no plans to change our current masking requirement.

Based on the dramatic spike in cases and quarantines in our schools and community, we believe universal masking is absolutely critical to keeping schools open, protecting the health of our students and staff, and limiting the current strain on our local healthcare system. If necessary, we will pursue legal action to ensure that we maintain local control over our schools and are able to meet our obligation to provide a safe learning environment for all students.

I’m gratified by the outpouring of positive messages the district has been receiving. That includes a phone call I received this afternoon from Miguel Cardona, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, who offered his support and that of his department. 

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I want to thank the Alachua County Commission, which has generously offered to make up any loss of funding the state may impose, and the many medical experts who have advised and supported the district throughout the pandemic.

Thanks also to the ACPS employees, students, and families who have demonstrated patience and understanding as we address the COVID crisis.

Finally, I want to express how proud I am of the School Board for its courageous stand. It is an honor to work with this Board, with the people of this district, and the entire community.