Petition calls for mask requirement for St. Johns County schools

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s proposal for cosmopolitan indoor masking for each teachers and students careless of vaccination status, an online petition is calling for St. Johns County schools to enforce a disguise mandate erstwhile the caller schoolhouse twelvemonth begins successful 2 weeks. So far, more than 2,600 radical person signed the petition.

“How are we arsenic a schoolhouse territory ignoring our existent assemblage conditions and recommendations by nationalist and section wellness experts? How tin we support our students who are nether 12, and don’t person a prime for vaccination, safe?” says the petition created by Heather Prediletto and her radical Doctors & Community Members for Masks successful St. Johns County Schools.

For now, masks are optional for nationalist schoolhouse students successful the county.

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St. Johns County School Board subordinate Beverly Slough said successful a communicative published Monday by Florida NewsLine that “CDC recommendations are conscionable that — recommendations.”

“Our debased cases pb america to judge that we are successful bully stead to not necessitate masks,” Slough said. “We expect and look guardant to a precise mean schoolhouse twelvemonth with 100 percent in-person learning.”

Slough told News4Jax connected Thursday that the interrogation with NewsLine was conducted astir a period agone but did not accidental if her viewpoint has changed since then.

“Our territory continues to intimately show the situation,” she told News4Jax successful an email.

Slough said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ enforcement bid ties the district’s hands.

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Last week, the Florida Department of Health reported that St. Johns County had much than 1,600 caller cases with a 23.8% positivity rate. Two weeks ago, determination were 730 caller cases reported with a 17.9% positivity complaint successful the county. The summation successful cases follows a statewide inclination arsenic the delta variant takes clasp and puts a strain connected the infirmary system.

“Why is it present then, portion cases are higher and rising, and determination is simply a much contagious variant successful the community, person you and the committee decided to propulsion backmost measures?” the petition asks. “You whitethorn reason that children aren’t that affected and that they volition beryllium okay. I volition reason that 1 severely sick kid is 1 excessively many, and I’m not definite that this schoolhouse committee would privation to instrumentality that risk.”

The territory besides made the determination to region table shields and get escaped of somesthesia checks astatine schools for the upcoming schoolhouse twelvemonth that begins Aug. 16.

The calls for a disguise mandate successful St. Johns County travel arsenic school boards successful 2 different section counties, Duval and Alachua, person recovered ways to necessitate look coverings despite DeSantis’ enforcement order barring schoolhouse districts from mandating that students deterioration masks.

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“Studies person proven that masks are much effectual erstwhile everybody’s wearing them,” Prediletto told News4Jax connected Thursday. “The delta variant is simply a batch much contagious than the variant that we had past year.”

DeSantis isn’t the lone 1 against the thought of mandatory masks successful schools.

In May, dozens of radical flooded what turned retired to beryllium a heated St. Johns County School Board meeting to telephone for the extremity of the district’s disguise mandate. A petition posted astir that clip garnered much than 2,200 signatures.

The territory aboriginal made the determination to marque masks optional arsenic cases declined successful the county.

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The radical for disguise mandates said it plans to be the adjacent schoolhouse committee gathering connected Aug. 10 to telephone for the change.

But the authorities is present exploring the anticipation of using a authorities programme to let students to get vouchers to transportation to backstage schools if it’s determined a district’s COVID-19 protocols airs a wellness oregon acquisition information to a child.

This authorities programme is presently successful effect for students who are bullied oregon harassed. The authorities schoolhouse committee volition sermon expanding it to see COVID-19 scenarios connected Friday.

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