Clay County School Board approves reopening plan with masks ‘optional’

The Clay County School District board meets on July 20, 2021. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – In a brief Tuesday morning meeting, the board of the Clay County School District unanimously approved its plan for reopening schools for the 2021-2022 academic year, which does not include a mask requirement.

The plan, nicknamed the “Smart Restart School Reopening Plan,” outlines the district’s measures and protocols for how it plans to navigate a school year amid a lingering pandemic.

“The goal of the plan is to share with all stakeholders the actions and protocols that the district and schools are continuing to keep in place with the intention of lessening the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus during our students and staff during the 2021-2022 school year,” the plan states.

The plan includes continued safety measures including social distancing, staggered arrival/dismissal times, prescreening protocols, and many more location-specific practices.

Before the vote was taken, board member Beth Clark and superintendent David Broskie commended the district’s decision to offer families the choice of whether to mask their students -- instead of mandating their use.

One day earlier, the American Academy of Pediatrics broke with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its updated recommendations for reopening schools, advising that everyone over the age of two years wear a face-covering in school settings regardless of their vaccination status.

The recommendation came as the Delta variant of the virus continues to spread rapidly throughout the unvaccinated community, affecting both adults and children.

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.