Marion County Public Schools announced that the district will begin the 2021-22 school year by making wearing masks optional for students and staff.
Thursday’s announcement noted that the district will allow full capacity athletic and arts events while consistently following health recommendations “to the extent possible.”
“Face coverings can be worn by any student, staff member, or campus visitor/volunteer who feels it necessary to do so,” says the school district. “Social distancing will be observed as much as possible, along with regular hand washing, daily disinfecting of high-touch and flat-surface areas, and use of water bottle refill stations, among other safety precautions.”
The announcement also stated that given the return to “openness” on school campuses, schools could make individual decisions limiting participation based on their community’s specific needs. The district also stressed that students and staff who feel sick should stay home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Alachua County Public School’s website says that the district is still updating its “COVID plan” for this fall and that it will address testing, masking, social distancing, contract tracing, quarantines and other “COVID-related issues.”
The updated plan will be shared with the school board during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Aug. 3, which will be held at the Alachua County Administration Building at 12 SE 1st St. More information about that meeting will be available next Tuesday morning, July 27, at sbac.edu/boardmeetings.
Even without a concrete “COVID plan” in place, ACPS announced on Thursday that the district will hire an additional 30 nurses to help schools in the district mitigate the virus. The district said that the nurses will take on most of the Covid-related tasks including contract tracing, testing, vaccination and education.