PANAMA CITY, FLA. (WMBB) — On Tuesday, the Bay District School Board ended its mandatory mask mandate for teachers and faculty. Starting Wednesday, staff have the option to wear a mask, or not to wear a mask. COVID numbers have recently risen throughout Bay District Schools.
In a 3-2 vote, chair members Jerry Register, Brenda Ruthven, and Chairman Steve Moss voted to end the mandate. Chair members Pamm Chapman and Winston Chester voted to keep the policy in place.
“The reason I voted the way I did is because I see these same teachers that we’re mandating wear masks in the classroom at Publix, at church, out in public, in social settings and they’re not wearing a mask in those type settings,” Moss said.
Chapman decided to vote against ending the policy, to keep faculty and students safe.
“Everyone’s got different opinions, on masks or no masks but I think at this level where our hospitals are at, and where our county is at with numbers, I think the responsible decision is to wear masks,” Chapman said. “Or at least have our employees wear masks.”
Chapman and Chester spoke with teachers in their districts, who said that they didn’t mind the mask mandates.
For teachers still wanting to wear a mask, Moss said that they should continue to wear them.
“Wear them,” Moss said. “There’s nothing to say that they cannot do that. If that’s their prerogative and they feel that’s in their best interest from a health standpoint, then absolutely. Any parent is more than willing to send little Johnny or Susie to school wearing a mask. Any employee whether instructional, admin, support can also wear a mask.”