Florida education commissioner: Schools should make masks voluntary


Gov. Ron DeSantis listens as Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks during a press conference in October 2019. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — Florida’s Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a letter to school districts with mandatory face mask policies to revise them for the 2021-2022 school year.

A letter was sent asking for the districts to make face coverings voluntary and says masks inhibit peer-to-peer learning.

Corcoran calls the mandatory mask mandates an example of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy at some districts and schools. He says data shows that districts’ face mask policies do not impact the spread of the virus.

“Face coverings are a personal decision and certainly families and individuals should maintain their ability to make a decision that is unique to their circumstances,” the letter reads.

It continues to say sweeping mandatory face mask policies “serve no remaining good at this point in our schools.”

The letter also says it creates a barrier for in-person learning, especially for students with disabilities and those who are English language learners.

“We ask that districts, which currently are implementing a mandated face covering policy, revise their policy to be voluntary for the 2021-20221 year,” the letter says. “Florida’s districts and schools have done an incredible job implementing, learning and improving upon mitigations and protections for our students, educators, school leaders and Florida’s entire education family.”

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