DeLand, FL - The Volusia County School Board (VCSB) is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow (August 31) to discuss the effect COVID-19 is having on students and staff and the possibility of a face mask mandate. When the meeting was called for on August 24, Governor Ron DeSantis' ban against school districts putting face mask mandates into place for students was in effect. Now that a judge placed an injunction against the ban, the VCSB could move forward with a mandate.
At meetings on July 27 and August 10, VCSB members spoke about a face mask mandate for students but opted to follow the Governor's ban by making them optional for students. District 4 board member Carl Persis said he thinks the injunction will make Superintendent Scott Fritz feel a little better about what the Board may decide. "Now, the law of the land is that school districts may impose a mandatory mask ruling."
Persis said that he expects the Board to listen to what the Superintendent has to say but he does think that the Board will go the route of imposing a facial covering. He said the way that the numbers in our schools are is the reason. "The number of students that we have to quarantine is really what makes this so difficult for parents and for teachers because it's very disruptive. We really want to have our children in school."
The biggest concern for Persis is the students under 12 that can't get vaccinated yet. He encourages parents to get their children over the age of 12 vaccinated and to get vaccinated themselves. "If your child had the vaccine and is exposed to COVID, that child would not need to be quarantined. I think this is a huge benefit and I hope parents know that."
As for how long the face mask mandate would be in play, Persis said that if the Board does approve a mandate, it could start on September 7. He can't say what the length of the mandate should be, it could be the end of October. That doesn't mean it has to go for that long a period but would give school officials time to monitor the numbers. Persis said that if the numbers make a significant decline for an extended period, the decision could be reversed.
Tomorrow's (August 31) meeting begins at 6 p.m. You can listen live on the school district's YouTube channel.