Alachua County School Board votes to extend mask mandate for K-8 students until December 6th
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After hearing from pediatricians and extensive discussion Tuesday night, The Alachua County School Board voted 3-2 to extend the mask policy for middle and elementary school students until Dec. 6.
From Dec. 7 to 17 parents will be able to opt their kids out. When school returns in January, masks for all students will be optional.
Mildred Russell and Gunnar Paulson voted against the motion.
Related story: ACPS Superintendent, board chair react to $160K+ FDOE sanction
“Which would give everyone the chance, parents the chance to have their child vaccinated, if that is their wish,” Rob Hyatt said. ….That way we’re saying we know what we’re gonna do.”
The CDC director approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 and up tonight.
Related story: US gives final clearance to COVID-19 shots for kids 5 to 11
The lack of approved vaccines for children has been the primary reason some school board members say they required students to wear masks.
Staff reports that over the past two weeks, there have been 26 students test positive for COVID and no members of staff tested positive.
Two parents spoke against the mask mandate saying its unlawful as the state has sanctioned more than $160,000 from the board.
“Due to the fact that there is an unlawful mandate in place, I would like to see that lifted.” Dusty Bailey said. “Not just for the sake of freedom, but you are in violation.”
Now that the vaccine is approved for school aged children, the district is planning to have vaccine clinics towards the end of this month.
Board members made it clear that if there is a spike in COVID cases next year, the mandate could return anytime they see fit.
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