The Duval County Public School District has removed its mask requirement and the Clay County School District is considering removing its mask requirement starting next year. The moves come after the St. Johns County and Nassau County school districts announced last week their mask mandates will be dropped next year.
Duval County Public Schools
DCPS announced on its website Tuesday that masks will be optional in its schools during the 2021-2022 school year. The district will also stop performing temperature checks, but will continue social distancing.
While most of the changes will not go into effect until next school year, masks will be optional during the district’s summer learning programs.
The announcement also included the results of the district’s stakeholder survey that ran from May 10 to May 24. Approximately 49% of the survey’s more than 28,600 respondents supported removing the mask requirement. Approximately 26% wanted to keep the current mask policy and 22% said masks should be required when students are moving or are in crowded spaces.
The release comes after the CDC earlier this month changed its COVID-19 guidelines to no longer recommend fully vaccinated people wear masks or socially distance in most scenarios. However, since no vaccine has been approved for children under 12, many children remain unvaccinated. The CDC still recommends unvaccinated people or anyone on public transportation wear a mask.
The district has not yet decided whether masks will be required on school buses, according to the announcement.
Clay County Public Schools
The Clay County School Board recently released a draft of its 2021-2022 Smart Restart school reopening plan, which would no longer require people to wear masks on school property, but would require students to socially distance as close to three feet apart as possible in classrooms, hallways and cafeterias.
The district’s reopening plan is not set in stone. During its June 3 meeting the school board will decide what the next steps are.
If members approve putting the plan to a public hearing, it will be held on July 20 at 9 a.m. at the District Multi-Purpose Center, located at the corner of Walnut Street and Gratio Place in Green Cove Springs.