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First Coast

Mask Mandate Ends In Jacksonville, But Not Duval County Schools

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LM OTERO / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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The City of Jacksonville’s mask mandate expired Friday, but officials with Duval County Public Schools reminded parents Sunday that masks are still required in schools. 

In an email sent to parents Sunday night, the district said face masks are still required on school buses, in the classroom, and in common areas. Students with disabilities or certain medical conditions may be exempt from the policy, but must wear a face shield instead. 

Since classes began in August of last year, there have been 2,057 cases of the coronavirus associated with Duval County schools. Of those, 1,445 were among students and 612 were among staff. Those numbers refer only to people who were working or attending classes in brick-and-mortar schools, and whose diagnoses interfered with school operations. The total number of DCPS students and employees diagnosed with the coronavirus may be higher. 

The end of Jacksonville’s mask mandate doesn’t mean Jaxsons should throw out their masks, though: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still advises all Americans to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart. Those who have been vaccinated are still not fully protected for up to two weeks after their final shot, and are also encouraged to keep mouths and noses covered. 

Businesses may still require patrons to wear masks as well. 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.