Duval County

DCPS drops mask opt-out forms after Gov. DeSantis signs new bill limiting vaccine mandates

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools is no longer requiring mask opt-out forms after Governor DeSantis signed a bill that limits vaccine mandates in Florida on Thursday.

The termination of the mask opt-out forms is effective immediately. Parents may still choose to have their children wear masks but the district cannot enforce a family to submit an opt-out form.

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Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene sent out a letter to employees that reads:

“Today, Governor DeSantis signed into law HB-1 which passed during Special Session yesterday. The new law specifically applies to school districts, school boards, and superintendents and places restrictions on our ability to require students to wear masks or facial coverings. Specifically, the new law prohibits mask mandates for students and restricts districts from requiring a parent to opt a student out of wearing a mask. This means that effective immediately, parents may still allow their child to voluntarily wear a mask; however, the district can’t require a family to submit an opt-out form. Therefore, all requirements for student opt-outs are immediately terminated.

“We will continue to do our part to keep our schools, employees and students safe by ensuring other COVID-19 mitigation measures are continued. Specifically, we will continue to ensure hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and other PPE are available to schools. The district will continue the application of anti-microbial protectant spray in high touch areas and enhanced cleaning schedules. We have also committed to ensuring nursing staff and school health aides are available in schools. Finally, we will continue to offer opportunities for employees and eligible students to receive COVID-19 vaccines through our ongoing partnership with the Florida Department of Health.

“I know that some of you may not support the new requirements. As a district, rest assured that we are doing all that we can to keep you safe while concurrently complying with the law. Thank you for all that you continue to do to care for our students and each other.”