Education Commissioner says face masks at schools should be voluntary

DORAL, FL – Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in a memo shared to districts superintendents that face masks at schools should be used by choice for the 2021-22 school year.

According to the memo sent on Wednesday, face masks “may impede instruction,” especially for students with learning disabilities who need to see their teacher’s mouth and full face.

“Broad sweeping mandatory face covering policies serve no remaining good at this point in our schools…We ask that districts, which are currently implementing a mandated face covering policy, revise their policy to be voluntary for the 2021-22 school year,” reads the memo. 

These policies, according to Corcoran, may have urged some parents to keep their children at home even though an in-person instruction could be more beneficial to them, while face masks at schools, as per his findings, “do not impact the spread of the virus.”

However, Corcoran’s recommendations go against those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that currently continues to encourage students to use face masks at schools. 

“CDC recommends that people, including teachers, staff, and students, wear masks in public settings as able when around people who live outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” reads a CDC guidelines against COVID-19 updated on April 6.

“A mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart,” is added on the guide.

Their recommendations also contradict the statement that face masks do not impact the spread of the virus. 

“COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, shout, or sing. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are near you or they may breathe these droplets in,” reads on their website.

“Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.”

The final decision, however, on making face masks required or not at schools for the next school year lies on each school board.



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