With declining COVID numbers for students and staff, the Hernando County School Board voted Oct. 26, 2021, to once again make wearing masks optional on campus.
At the end of the school year last year, the school board voted to remove the mask mandate after the final day of school. With COVID activity spiking in August, the board put the mask mandate back in place and gave parents the option to opt out in order to comply with the state’s ban on mask mandates in school.
The week prior to the Oct. 26 meeting, there were eight students and two staff members who tested positive for COVID. When the mandate (with parental opt-out) was put in place on Aug. 31, 2021, over 300 students per week and 150-170 staff members were testing positive for COVID.
The board voted to remove the mandate with the caveat that it may be put back in place should numbers start to spike again. Students, staff, and visitors to campus are no longer required to wear masks on school district grounds. After the vote, many community members attending the meeting removed their masks. Several community members had spoken to the board during citizens’ comments urging them to remove the mandate, as they had advocated for in previous meetings.