Florida education department investigating Orange County schools mask mandate

A student arrives at a Hillsborough County school in August of 2021 (FOX / file)

The Florida Department of Education is launching an investigation into Orange County Public Schools over rules surrounding their recent mask mandate.

In a letter sent to Superintendent Barbara Jenkins and Orange County School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, Commissioner Richard Corcoran says he has ‘grave concerns’ about their face mask policy. on Monday, the school district began a 60-day mask mandate. 

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be required to wear masks for the entire school day. The only students who can be exempt from the mandate are those with a medical condition. They must provide a doctor’s note.

RELATED: Volusia County School Board approves mask mandate

Students could face anything from a verbal warning to in-school suspension for failing to wear a mask in school, citing that "the school district certainly has the authority to discipline students who fail to comply with their student code of conduct and various policies. And so, that’s something that will play itself out."

Corcoran's letter states that he is immediately initiating an investigation of non-compliance with the Florida Department of Health, which adopted an emergency rule station students can opt-out of any mask policy if parents give permission to do so.

RELATED: Parents to protest Orange County Schools mask mandate 

He is asking for a written response by 5 p.m. on Sept. 1. 

"Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their minor children," Corcoran states. "The Department of Education will protect that right."