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Duval schools mask mandate loosened after county meets COVID-19 thresholds

Duval’s district will return to a parental opt-out policy for student face masks

Duval’s district will return to a parental opt-out policy for student face masks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After nearly two months in effect, the mask requirement within Duval County Public Schools was automatically relaxed Friday when the COVID-19 community transmission data met the second of two key thresholds set by the school board.

The suspension returns the district’s policy on face masks to its previous status before the emergency rule was introduced; Face masks are still required but parents again have the ability to opt their children out of the mandate without the required form from a medical professional.

MORE ONLINE: Face mask protocol information for parents

After the mandate was imposed, the school board approved recommendations from Superintendent Diana Greene to suspend the emergency rule when “the rolling seven-day positivity rate declines to 7.99% or less and the rolling seven-day new case count per 100,000 people declines to 49.99 or fewer.”

Weeks after the positivity rate met its criteria, the Florida Department of Health reported Friday that Duval County’s seven-day infection rate dropped to 41.2 cases per 100,000 population.

The district’s mask mandate, as well as those in eight other Florida school districts, prompted state action from the DeSantis administration, including the withholding of state funds in an amount equal to the salaries of school board members and any federal grants that are received as a result.

Duval County School Superintendent Dianna Greene sent all public school parents this message just after 5 p.m. Friday:

Northeast Florida counties COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccinations

About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.