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Masks optional for Bay District Schools

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay District School board members were faced with two big questions Tuesday: do members want to make masks and cloth facial coverings optional on school property, and when would it go into effect?

“We talk about data-driven decisions all the time as a board and the data backs up this decision,” Chairman Steve Moss said.

After a unanimous vote, members approved making masks optional for students, employees, and visitors effective immediately. Moss said this goes for inside classrooms, buses, cafeterias, and gyms.

“I felt comfortable not only as a chairman voting this way but as a dad voting this way sending both of my kiddos back to school tomorrow mask free,” said Moss.

Going back to school mask-free is something Bay High senior Daniel Schultz didn’t agree with.

“The school board talks about they make data-driven decisions, however, I don’t believe we are reading the same data,” said Schultz.

According to District data, there were almost 300 positive cases in January. Moss said since changing the quarantining guidelines in February from six to three feet, they’ve seen drastically fewer students and staff get COVID. There were just under 100 cases in April.

“The data at least in our community doesn’t back what the CDC guidance said, so, therefore, we decided Tuesday to go and do what we thought was best for our own community,” said Moss.

Schultz said what’s best for the community is to keep the mask mandate through the end of the school year.

“The data that I read supports masks and supports social distancing and that’s the only data there is in my world,” said Schultz.

Schultz and Moss said they just want what’s best and safest for everyone.

Moss said even though this goes into effect immediately, the members will talk about putting these changes into a written policy at the next board meeting.

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