Duval County students could be expected to wear masks on campus when schools reopen

Face covering decision may be easy if Jacksonville's mask mandate is still in place on Aug. 10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County students could be expected to wear masks on campus when schools reopen next month.

And if they ride a bus, they will be required to wear them, as well.

Teachers and parents are worried, and some are panicked about the idea of restarting classes in person in a matter of just a month given the new mandate from the Florida Department of Education.

RELATED: School reopening plans due in 3 weeks | Duval County schools left scrambling to adjust after state mandate | New reopening plan in the works as concerns grow for parents of Duval County students

The president of the teacher’s union is very clear about what she thinks should be required of students.

“I do believe students should be required to wear face masks in the classroom to not only protect themselves but also the employee that they are going to be coming in contact with,” said Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady.

Brady said that decision needs to be made right away since the school district now has very little time to revamp its initial reopening plan.

News4ax asked Duval County School Board member Lori Hershey about face coverings. That decision may be easy if Jacksonville’s current mask mandate, aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, is still in place on Aug. 10.

“It’s my understanding that that mandate does include schools. We have not had that full conversation as a board, but it’s my understanding that if school is in session during the current mandate in the city, the same would be required of our schools,” Hershey said.

No decision has been made about how they would be enforced. But Hershey said the district has already addressed face coverings on school buses.

“We are looking at doubling up some bus routes, and require students who are on the bus to wear masks and only have two students per seat,” Hershey said.

Now that more students will be in school than the district expected, questions -- such as how many bus routes will be possible and whether school start times will have to be shifted to allow enough time to get those students to school -- are still up in the air until the district formulates a new reopening plan.

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