In comments via Facebook today, Superintendent Hanna changed directions once again related to masking policies.
Hanna stated that due to the number of cases reported during the first week of school and the number of students in quarantine he is requiring all students in K-8 grades to wear masks while in school. Parents have until Friday to opt-out for medical reasons.
LCS reported 245 cases during the first week of school among the approximate 33,000 students attending Leon County schools.
Hanna said the “numbers speak for themselves.” Hanna also said the mask requirement is temporary and he hopes it will keep schools open.
With regards to the effectiveness of masks, Hanna said masks are not the “end all be all”, but relied on the advice of medical professionals as support for his decision.
The decision comes after weeks of back and forth related to the schools masking policy. Hanna had been an advocate of an optional masking policy most of the summer.
However, the increase in COVID cases caused Hanna to reconsider and implement a mask mandate policy without a parental opt-out.
That position changed – one day before school was set to start – after a discussion with school board over possible sanctions by the state due to an executive order which required school boards to offer a parental opt-out from any mask mandates.
In addition, Superintendent Rocky Hanna said that he mistakenly read the rule to mean that a medical opt-out was consistent with the executive order.