Brevard County School Board approves temporary mask mandate
VIERA, Fla. - The Brevard County School District has approved a mask mandate. It is effective immediately and will be in place for 30 days.
The Brevard School Board voted 3-2 to implement an emergency policy of making face masks mandatory on school board property, including schools and school buses.
The district held an emergency meeting on Monday to hear public feedback on face-coverings. The decision came after a five-hour emergency meeting that had over 140 public comments. The discussion was divided among students and parents in attendance.
"What are you going to decide today? Please vote for Brevard because it’s the entire community that is being hurt," said one speaker.
The meeting room was filled to capacity with the overflow spilling outside for the live stream, with even more people waving signs in the parking lot.
"Nobody wants to see kids in freezer trucks," said David Kerns in favor of masking.
"If you pass the mandate I’m very sure your COVID numbers will go down but only because your attendance will go down," said another woman opposed to the mandate.
Brevard Public Schools has reported 3,033 positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff so far this school year. Some 4,000 have been quarantined due to exposure to the coronavirus, with over 3,300 of those cases stemming from close contact from school.
Four teachers have died from COVID-19 with 10 more hospitalized.
"Is this a cure-all? Absolutely not. No one ever said it was but I believe we owe it to keep our students safe," said Board Member Cheryl McDougall.
Not all the board members agreed. Some bringing into question the legality of a mandate including parents who threatened to pull their children from school.
"What is law is HB241 that gives all the parents the right to decide if they want to mask their kids or not mask their kids," said Thomas Jefferson. "The patriots of Brevard say no mask."
Important Information regarding the mask mandate:
- Each Pre-K-12 student, employee, visitor, vendor, or other person is required to wear a face-covering at all times while indoors on school district property.
- A child younger than two years old and a person with a medical certification are not required to have a face covering. Medical Certification: A face covering shall not be required for persons who present school district staff with a certification from a licensed health care provider that the person has a medical, physical, or psychological contraindication that prevents the person from being able to safely wear a face covering.
- Other times a face covering is not required: students with supervisor’s approval, eating, and drinking, strenuous physical activity, receiving health care, exigent circumstances.
- A face covering IS NOT needed if a student or adult is outside.
- The mask mandate will reduce quarantines of students and staff, based on CDC guidelines.
A five-day grace period may be extended to those who need to obtain exemption documentation.
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