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Hernando County School Board passes mask mandate, parents able to opt-out

Students will be required to wear a mask, however, parents can opt out.

BROOKSVILLE, Fla — During an emergency meeting held Tuesday, the Hernando County School Board passed a mask mandate for students and staff within the school district. 

The mandate comes as Florida continues to see a growing number of coronavirus cases amid the surge of the new Delta variant.

The board is requiring masks for students, however, there is a parental opt-out if parents decide their child doesn't need to wear a mask at school.  Under the mask mandate, all students whose parent didn't submit an opt-out form, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks when inside any of the school campuses within Hernando County Schools. Parents will receive the forms tomorrow.

The mask mandate is effective immediately, but the district is allowing a grace period until Monday, Sept. 6. The board will revisit the mask mandate policy Oct. 12, according to board members.

The Hernando County Schools opt-out is similar to Hillsborough County Schools' first opt-out parents were able to choose by signing a form. 

Monday, the Florida Department of Education moved forward in withholding monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward counties for requiring face masks without opt-out options. 

And Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is threatening to recommend the state withhold the salaries of school board members at Hillsborough and Sarasota school districts as the two recently approved face mask policies.