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Polk, Pinellas School Boards Vote To End Mask Mandates

students in line outside gainesville bar
Lauren Witte
/
Fresh Take Florida

In Pinellas, the change takes effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday, the final day of the school year. In Polk, where classes ended May 27, it became effective Wednesday morning.

The Pinellas and Polk county school boards voted unanimously Tuesday to repeal policies that required students and employees to wear masks to protect against the coronavirus.

In Pinellas, the change takes effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday, the final day of the school year. In Polk, where classes ended May 27, it became effective Wednesday morning.

“We still continue to encourage masks for anybody who is not vaccinated, but we are giving the option and flexibility to families and staff to make those decisions,” incoming Polk superintendent Frederick Heid said in a statement released on the district’s website.

Students who opt to wear face coverings must comply with general dress code and school uniform requirements, the Polk school board said.

With an update in federal guidelines, the availability of vaccines and a significant drop in statewide COVID cases, several school boards have voted to end mask policies, including Hillsborough, Manatee, Hernando, Pasco and St. Lucie.

Orange and Citrus are among the boards planning to discuss the policy in the coming days. In Sarasota, masks are expected to become optional July 1.