WALTON COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — The countdown is on for students to head back to class and the school district has decided on their new COVID-19 protocols.
Following this week’s announcement from the CDC recommending universal masking for everyone in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, Walton County Superintendent Russell Hughes has gotten a lot of questions about masks in his district.
“We highly recommended them last year, they were yet optional, they are totally optional this year,” said Hughes. “Likewise on school busses, totally optional. They were mandated last year because of close proximity and the age range of most of our school bus drivers, but that’s totally optional this year.”
A decision tree outlining what will happen if a student or staff member tests positive will be used to ensure that every safety precaution is being followed.
“Again this unseen variant has kind of disturbed many of us and we want our children to be safe and we want employees safe, so it’s difficult not knowing,” said Hughes.
Just like masks, the COVID-19 vaccine is also optional.
“It’s going to be totally up to teachers and parents to get students vaccinated if they want to get vaccinated,” he said. “We aren’t really going to have any mandates.”
If parents are concerned about sending their students to brick-and-mortar, a virtual option is still available.
“Walton Virtual and they have to go ahead and sign up now and remain for a semester, it’s not going to be where they can go in and out like our innovative learning digital academy was last year,” said Hughes. “That’s no longer.”
The school district has released its most recent protocol. To find that you can visit their website.