MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — In a unanimous vote, the Jackson County School Board passed a mandatory mask mandate at their special meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
In light of the recent rise of positive COVID-19 cases in Jackson County, the school board wants to do everything they can to keep students and teachers safe.
“This is something that we feel strongly about, that we need to reduce our positivity rate in Jackson County and if this will help, then it will be well worth our efforts,” said Larry Moore, superintendent of Jackson County schools.
The mandate requires all children to wear masks while riding the bus and for sixth through twelfth graders to wear them during class changes.
“With the students being on the busses, I think it’s a great thing,” said Ronald Mitchell, the principal of Sneads High School. “We won’t stop it, but if we can slow it down, if we can prevent the best we can, I think it’s best for everybody.”
Mitchell is pleased with the school board’s decision to pass the mandate.
“Well I do believe that it’s the right thing to do with COVID going on the rise,” Mitchell said. “We have a lot of teachers who are concerned because they have underlying conditions. They also have parents that they’re taking care of. They want to make sure they’re safe, they want to make sure the students are safe.”
Superintendent Moore also added consequences for students who don’t follow the mask mandate.
“If a student is non-compliant, and the principal will have some discretion, but we’re suggesting after three warnings, then the student would be enrolled in iJackson and not be able to return until a point at which they decide that they can comply.”
However, students who are medically exempt from wearing a mask will not be required to wear a mask.
Each student will be supplied with two face masks and every staff member will be given five face masks.
The school board will reevaluate the mandate every month and when positive cases begin to decline, they will make the mandate a strong suggestion.
The mask mandate comes a week after the Jackson County School Board pushed back the start of school to August 24th.