Monroe County public schools will begin the school year with mandatory masks for students and staff, the district's superintendent announced Wednesday.
In a news release, Superintendent Theresa Axford said facial coverings will be required for everyone inside Monroe County schools and on buses for the next two weeks in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the county.
SCHOOLS AND COVID
Parents can choose to opt out of the policy by filling out a form, but staff have no option of opting out, Axford said.
The policy will be reexamined on Aug. 24 and at every school board meeting thereafter, Axford said.
"We will continue to work closely with the medical community to monitor the level of infection in our county," the news release read. "We will revisit this issue at each School Board Meeting and may make changes as the situation requires it."
With the mandate, Monroe County is the latest district in the state to go against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who opposes mandatory mask mandates for students and wants parents to decide whether kids should wear them at schools.
DeSantis had threatened to withhold salaries of school leaders who enact mask requirements.
Other districts, including Broward, are also keeping mask mandates in place.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.