Polk County K-12 students required to wear face coverings for on-campus learning

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Masks will be required for all K-12 students on Polk County buses and in classrooms when school resumes next month.

Face coverings will be required for all faculty and staff members as well.

Students with a waiver from a doctor will be exempt from wearing a mask.

Polk County Public Schools has been collecting responses from parents about how they want kids to return to learning on Aug. 24.

As of Wednesday, 46 percent of parents want to send their kids back to on-campus learning.

The school board agreed to update the district’s student code of conduct with the face-covering requirement.

If a student doesn’t have a mask, they will be given one.

If they refuse, an administrator will call the student’s parents to resolve the issue.

“We are very intentional about working diligently to ensure that it doesn’t become a disciplinary issue. We really want it to be a teachable moment if you will,” said John Hill, the Polk County deputy superintendent.

Face coverings will also be expected in preschools. The preschool handbooks will be updated with this directive.

School leaders advise parents to start getting their children used to spending hours wearing a face covering.

“Keep working with them and to prepare them to do your best to get them used to wearing the face coverings. Finding those face coverings that might be more appealing to them. Make sure they’re appropriate for school,” Hill said.

The school district has extended its deadline through Sunday for parents to submit their intent for returning to school (campus learning, e-learning, or Polk Virtual School).

If parents want to change their mind due to the mask requirement, they can update their intention form.

The latest submission on the form will be the one on record.

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