Sarasota County Schools’ face mask mandate goes into effect Monday

Coronavirus

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A 90-day mask mandate is now in place in all Sarasota County public schools.

The school board passed the requirement, which has no parental opt-out, last week amid a rise in COVID-19 cases, and before a judge ruled against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on face mask mandates. The policy will affect roughly 44,000 students.

District leaders plan to remove the mandate once the county’s positivity rate drops below 8% for three days.

Parents on both sides of the issue have been vocal about their opinion.

“One thing I know is I cannot rationalize the insane,” one parent said at a recent school board meeting.

“We the people are the parent, you the school board is the child,” another added.

Craig Maniglia, a spokesman for Sarasota County Schools says the rule will be enforced like the dress code.

“It’s not like we’re going to turn people away at the gate, you don’t have a mask — shun, shun — no, that’s not the idea. The idea is to bring them in, you know, calmly speak with them, explain the importance behind it, offer a mask,” Maniglia explained.

As of Monday morning, the school district’s coronavirus dashboard showed 90 staff members and 799 students had tested positive for COVID-19 or were in isolation.

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