Manatee Co. Schools make revisions to mask policy

Manatee Co. Schools make revisions to mask policy
All students and staff must wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose at Manatee County Schools this year. (Source: wwsb)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The School Board of Manatee County held an Emergency Board Meeting Friday to make some revisions to its policy regarding face masks at schools and on school buses.

An initial version of the policy, passed Tuesday, mandated that all employees, visitors and students wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth while on school property, facilities, transportation vehicle, including school buses and/or engaged in school activities.

On Friday, school officials met once again to discuss possible revisions to the policy. The following exceptions were passed.

  • Students who need a break from their face mask, may do so with teacher permission provided social distancing can be maintained under specific outdoor circumstance (not indoor).
  • No face covering is required during physical education classes, recess, or other outdoor activities as long as social distancing practices are in place.  Students must wear cloth face masks to and from physical education class and to and from the recess location or activity. 
  • Face shields that completely cover the face, wrap around the face and extend below the chin, will be allowed to be worn by students in Grades PreK-5 and students with disabilities only in the classroom during specific instructional periods as long as either social distancing practices are in place and/or physical barriers of separation are in place between students.  A cloth face mask must be worn during all other times and locations.  Face shields are not substitutes for cloth face masks nor are being used for normal everyday activities and only allowed in this narrow use. 
  • Employees who need a break from wearing their face mask while on school property, may do so if alone in their own office or classroom or outdoors maintaining social distancing.  An employee may not utilize common space, for example a conference room, break room, stairwell or any unoccupied location for a mask break.  A cloth face mask must be worn during all other times and locations.

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