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Local schools might not require wearing face masks next year

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 9:16 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Rules for wearing face masks in schools might be changing. While it’s great to have almost everyone back in the classrooms, Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said there’s still something missing.

“We like to see each other’s faces. That’s a way we communicate, facial expression. So, we want to have those ways to communicate with each other,” Husfelt said.

On Wednesday, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent out a letter to school district superintendents asking to make face coverings optional next year.

Husfelt said he believes masks won’t be required next year in Bay District Schools, and he’s on board with it. While making masks optional would be new to Bay County, it wouldn’t change much in Walton County.

“As far as schools are concerned, we said highly recommend it but not mandatory. It has worked really well. Just last week, no covid cases, no quarantines,” Walton County Schools Superintendent Russell Hughes said.

In Commissioner Corcoran’s letter, he discusses the impact masks have on learning, writing quote, “polices may also impede instruction in certain cases, especially for students with disabilities.”

Superintendent Hughes agreed.

“We also have students who are on the spectrum who don’t need to have that mask covering where they can’t identify is this a smile, is this encouraging,” Hughes said.

This is something Bay District Schools officials will be considering when it comes to masking up in the coming school year. Husfelt said he will be talking about the possible change in rules next month, but he said he’s confident they are all on the same page in making masks optional.

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