Bay District School Board to vote on making masks optional at next meeting


BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — After Governor DeSantis took action suspending all COVID-19 emergency orders some of our local municipalities are talking about changing things up.

For some, the executive order will not change a thing, but for the school board, it could mean a shift in a mask mandate. 

Bay County Commissioner Robert Carroll said this does not change much in the county. 

“We’ve been open for business since day one with the encouragement of everyone to stay safe,” Carroll said. “Wear your mask, do your social distance.”

Right now there are no mask mandates in place in Bay County.

The Panama City Beach administration releasing a statement saying:

“The city has no emergency orders in place related to COVID-19 restrictions or mandates on individuals or businesses, so the governor’s executive order 21-101 signed yesterday (May 3) has no bearing on the city.” 

Carroll said the county will continue to get funding for things like COVID-19 testing.

“There will still be funding for any programs that we need with COVID-related issues but this just basically opens up Florida one hundred percent,” Carroll said.

Where things may really change is in schools. 

School Board Chairman Steve Moss said although the governor did sign the order, it does not apply to schools. He said each district can make its own decisions. 

At the next school board meeting Superintendent, Bill Husfelt will propose that masks be made optional instead of continuing to follow CDC guidelines. 

“The question that the school board will have to decide is if indeed we want to ‘A’ go with his plan of making them optional and then ‘B’ if indeed we want to go that route when do you want to make it effective,” Moss said. 

Moss said this would be for K through 12. He said data shows that the number of cases in schools has dropped dramatically and supports making masks optional. 

“I’m just one of five board members but I am going to vote to not only make them optional but make them optional immediately,” Moss said. 

The next school board meeting will take place at the Nelson Building on Tuesday, May 11.

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