OCPS reinstates opt-out option to mask mandate

Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said the current mandate with no opt-out option will expire Oct. 30.

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Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins announced the face mask mandate for all OCPS buildings and buses will expire Oct. 30. 

The decision, which came early Thursday evening, credited several determining factors. 

"After speaking with local medical advisers and board members, noting the significant reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases in Orange County, and hearing Mayor (Jerry) Demings announce the end of his local emergency order, Superintendent Jenkins determined not to extend the face mask mandate for students," OCPS officials wrote in a statement. 

OCPS will return to required face masks with a parental opt-out provision starting Monday, Nov. 1.

Parents or guardians will have the option to opt their child out of wearing a face mask based on a signed note delivered to the school.

"The district hopes parents will seriously consider the opportunity, when available, to vaccinate their children in consultation with their medical providers," OCPS said. 

However, employees, visitors and volunteers still will be required to wear a face mask until further notice. 

OCPS said it projects making face masks optional for employees and other adults after Dec. 3, or sooner, based on county data.




Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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