JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County’s youngest students will have a choice about whether they want to wear a face shield or a face shield and a mask under the school district’s revised reopening plan.
According to Duval County Public Schools, kindergarten through second-grade students will be issued a clear plastic face shield, which may be used in addition to or instead of a cloth face covering.
Students with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent a face covering may also use a clear plastic shield or other reasonable accommodation.
All students will be required to wear face coverings in school and on the bus. The masks will be provided by the school district.
Face coverings will not be required during physical education, recess, band or any classes in which face coverings are an obvious impediment to learning.
With his parent’s permission, News4Jax asked an 8-year-old boy named Ismael, who will be heading back to San Jose Elementary School, to try out a face shield. Ismael said he liked it and will wear it all day.
But not everybody was a fan. An 11-year-old named Christian would rather wear a face mask. A mother named Sarah Provost said of her child: “I don’t think she’d wear it. She’d play with it.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, face shields are not recommended as a good replacement for masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus because they only protect the person wearing the shield.
But Nancy Cruz, Ismael’s mother, said she’s good with whatever he is most likely to keep on.
When asked why the school district chose face shields when the CDC does not recommend them without face coverings, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said they believe that’s the best way to keep students engaged and learning at that age group.
“Well first and foremost, we will be offering facial coverings and face shields for grades K-2. It gives them more flexibility to move around the classroom. Many of our primary classes do storytime on the carpet. They’re engaged in hands-on learning. The face shields give them an opportunity to be highly engaged,” Greene said. “As you know, many day cares are open and have been open. I think face shields have been what they are doing in day cares or other entities for young children. (We) believe this would be the best strategy for our young children so they’re not confined to just a seat or desk.”