As students in 4 NE Florida counties head back to school, masks will be required for some

Thousands of students in Northeast Florida will be kicking off a new school year, as Columbia, Flagler, Nassau and Putnam counties all start school Monday.

As students prepare for the first day of school, they are used to packing their backpacks with pencils and notebooks. But this year, many need to remember to bring a mask.

Nassau and Putnam counties will require students to wear masks in the classroom and on the bus.

“We have a back-to-school plan that outlines that requirement,” said Nassau County Superintendent Dr. Kathy Burns. “It’s been well documented the difference that masks can make, so masks are required.”

In Flagler County, masks will be mandatory for grades three through 12 and strongly encouraged for prekindergarten through second grade.

In Columbia County, according to WCJB-TV, face masks are highly recommended for students in grades three through 12.

This comes as several other school districts are adjusting their mask policies now that the school year is underway.

The Duval County school district is now discouraging the use of neck gaiters and face masks with vents, saying, ”Neck gaiters and masks with vents or valves are proving to be ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

The district does require masks and said it will provide students who wear one of those two options with a disposable face covering for the day.

In Georgia, Camden County started requiring students to wear masks nearly two weeks after they returned to campus.

Several of the school districts that have mask mandates in place do have some exceptions and guidelines regarding when they need to be worn, what ages do not need to wear one and for those with an existing health condition.

For full coverage of back-to-school issues, visit News4Jax’s Facing the Fall special section.

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