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With four COVID-19 deaths of Marion Co. school employees, some school board members are suggesting a mask mandate

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Four employees at Marion County Public Schools died from COVID-19 during the summer. School board members are focusing on making safety in schools a priority.

Just three days into the school year, school board members discussed how optional mask wear has been going.

With an increase of COVID-19 cases, 5,000 more students in school, and fewer restrictions than last year. Board member Eric Cummings suggests masks should be worn until COVID numbers go down.

“We made a decision as a board to go to optional policy, but we made that decision based on the information that we had at that time, so things have changed. When things change we have to be flexible as a district to flex with the changes and move with the changes,” said Cummings.

Chair Nancy Thrower said the school’s biggest problems are students coming to school sick.

“We do have students coming to school that may not be sick themselves but there’s an illness in the household. There’s COVID in the household that is the biggest concern right now is that people are coming to school sick or having been exposed.”

Vice-Chair Kelly King thinks the decision for mask-wearing should be up to the parents and their kids.

“There are people they feel strongly one way or another, but I don’t think it’s my position at this point to tell a family what to do.”

Cummings wanted at least a mask mandate for staff members, but in the end, no change was made.

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