Since schools have returned to in-person methods, many students have caught COVID. However, weeks ago, Leon County Schools mourned the loss of Canopy Oaks Elementary School physical education teacher Logan Hurst, who died due to complications from COVID.
Saddened by the news and the spike in COVID cases in Leon County, the school board felt obligated to come up with a change of plans to ensure the safety of faculty and students.
Chris Petley explained what the Leon County School Board has put into place for the rest of the year.
“Most recently, we instituted mandatory Pre-K through 8th grade mask mandates, only allowing parents the opportunity to opt out with a medical opt out form,” Petley said.
This form has to come directly from a doctor stating why a student does not have to wear a mask. For high school, in order for a student to opt out, a parent must sign a permission slip.
“We will be driven by data and not by politics in our local discussions.” Petley said.
Over the past 14 days, there has been a number of 115 COVID cases reported between schools in Leon County. One hundred and thirty three students are reported as quarantined, making it a percentage of 0.43 percent of all students.
A science teacher here in Leon County, who wishes to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, speaks about their take on the new mask mandate in place for students.
“I don’t think it will work because students still congregate without the mask at times,” the teacher said. “There is no enforcement and teachers are not about to stress themselves about the masks like when COVID was in the initial stages.”
Though the district has stated masks are required, many parents do not like the mandate for their child and have looked for ways to seek doctor’s notices that may opt children out of having to wear them throughout the day.
“We are making some changes to our quarantine procedures,” Petley also explained, stating that if anyone is in a classroom where an individual has tested positive, you can immediately return back to school but you have to wear a mask.
Parents, students and faculty should all work together and follow proper protocol to remain safe in the ongoing pandemic.
Leon County is hoping these changes will decrease COVID cases and will slowly lead to being able to go back to traditional classrooms without a mask.
For more information on Leon County Schools COVID requirements and procedures, visit https://www.leonschools.net.