BREAKING: BDS to require all employees to wear masks beginning Monday morning

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay District Schools announced on Sunday all district employees are required to wear a mask or face covering inside when social distancing isn’t possible.

In an email sent out to all district employees on Sunday afternoon, Superintendent Bill Husfelt said the new mask policy would be implemented effective immediately until further notice.

Husfelt in the email said, “Having watched so many of my friends and family get COVID, I am extremely thankful that most young people recover quickly and that is a blessing. HOWEVER, we all know so much more at the beginning of his school year than we knew last year. ADULTS without the vaccine are the most susceptible but we also know that even vaccinated adults can still get and carry the virus.”

He also said he knows “everyone has an opinion and the only thing we all agree on is that we just want this to go away. Unfortunately it’s not going away and it looks like it might get worse before it gets better.”

The new mask policy is as follows:

1)      ALL BDS employees, in all cost centers and schools, will be required to wear a mask or face covering INSIDE when social distancing isn’t possible. That requirement includes classrooms, buses, offices and all of our buildings.

2)      No visitors will be allowed on campus unless the principal deems it essential and important. However, all scheduled ‘orientations’ for Monday may proceed as planned unless the principal decides otherwise.

3)      ANY employee who has a medical reason not to wear a mask will be exempt after providing documentation.

4)      Between now and August 24th, all employees who properly and correctly wear their masks will receive paid leave should they get the virus or should they be required to be quarantined. This will be applied regardless of the vaccination status of the employee for the duration of the mask mandate.

Husfelt said he will take this to the August 24th meeting for the school board’s direction from that point forward. He said he will also be asking all parents to deeply consider having their children wear a mask or face covering for the first two weeks of school.

Read the full email below:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m starting my 40th year in public education and I have to be very candid … I have never been more mindful of the fear many of you are living with right now. This is our fourth year of unprecedented upheaval in our district and, although we thought the worst was behind us after the hurricane, it’s clear that Covid is far more terrifying.  As a good friend of mine recently said publicly, most of us will either get Covid or the vaccine … we all have to decide which.

I know everyone has an opinion and the only thing we all agree on is that we just want this to go away. Unfortunately, it’s not going away and it looks like it might get worse before it gets better. In fact, many physicians and experts believe Covid will be with us for a few years to come. So, in the meantime, we have to decide how we want to deal with it and how to keep our collective safety as our most important priority.

Having watched so many of my friends and family get Covid I am extremely thankful that most young people recover very quickly and that is a blessing.  HOWEVER, we all know so much more at the beginning of this school year than we knew last year. ADULTS without the vaccine are the most susceptible but we also know that even vaccinated adults can still get, and carry, the virus.

Therefore, effective IMMEDIATELY, I am implementing the following requirements until further notice under School Board Policy 2.134:

1)      ALL BDS employees, in all cost centers and schools, will be required to wear a mask or face covering INSIDE when social distancing isn’t possible. That requirement includes classrooms, buses, offices and all of our buildings.

2)      No visitors will be allowed on campus unless the principal deems it essential and important. However, all scheduled ‘orientations’ for Monday may proceed as planned unless the principal decides otherwise.

3)      ANY employee who has a medical reason not to wear a mask will be exempt after providing documentation.

4)      Between now and August 24th, all employees who properly and correctly wear their masks will receive paid leave should they get the virus or should they be required to be quarantined. This will be applied regardless of the vaccination status of the employee for the duration of the mask mandate.

I am implementing these measures effective immediately and I will take this to the August 24th Board Meeting for the School Board’s direction from that point forward. I will also be asking all parents to deeply consider having their children wear a mask or face covering for the first two weeks of school.  THIS IS NOT A MANDATE, but a request for parents to consider.

In closing, I’m not sure how the good Lord will continue to protect us, but I am grateful that He has!

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