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Gov. Ron DeSantis, Baker County Schools celebrate end of district's fully in-person school year

The governor also touted his administration's efforts to bring $1,000 bonuses to teachers and principals across Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is joining state and county education leaders in celebrating the end of the school year in Baker County.

Wednesday morning at 11:30, the governor spoke at Baker County Middle School in Macclenny on the county's last day of school. He touted his administration's efforts to bring $1,000 bonuses to teachers and principals across Florida.

Along with Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Baker County Superintendent of Schools Sherrie Raulerson, the governor applauded the school district's successful school year, which offered in-person instruction for students from the start of the year in early August.

The governor also addressed students wearing masks upon return to school for the 2021 through 2022 school year.

"There should not be mandatory masks for kids," DeSantis said. "If a parent wants their kid to wear it, I personally wouldn't do that as a parent, but I think that's fine. But to force other kids -- and here's the thing. Baker never required the kids to wear masks, and they had no difference in COVID performance than the kids that had it." 

The governor's news conference comes one day after Duval and St. Johns counties' public school districts announced face masks will be optional for students next year.

The governor also gave a news conference at Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences Wednesday afternoon, echoing many similar sentiments including emphasizing the importance of continued in-person instruction for students in Florida's schools.

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