Palm Beach Schools To Bring Back Parental Opt-Outs For Mask Mandate

Parents Protest Mask Mandates At Florida School Board Meeting

Photo: Getty Images North America

The mask mandate will remain in place for Palm Beach County's public schools, but the superintendent says they will begin accepting opt-out requests from parents of students on November 15.

Michael Burke says that doesn't mean he thinks people should stop wearing them.

"We are still strongly encouraging families, children (and) employees to wear a mask."

The date was chosen because health officials believe the county will be at a "moderate" risk for COVID transmission by then and the fact that a vaccine is now available for kids from 5 to 11.

Burke believes that there will be fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents in Palm Beach County for two-weeks by the time he allows the parents an option again. During the week ending October 28, that number was 59 or "substantial."

Notes turned in from parents early in the school year will be honored at that time. Any parents who haven't already turned one in can do it now.

Some school board members expressed a desire to just go with masks-optional, saying the opt-outs could case confusion. But the vote was ultimately given to go along with Burke's wishes.

Teachers will still have to wear masks for now.

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