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Leon County Schools announces optional masks beginning June 14

Posted at 11:50 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-12 15:13:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After a full year of masks being required in all spaces where social distancing is not possible, it's masks off for Leon County Schools starting Monday.

"After meeting and talking with folks from the department of health, considering all the circumstances, the vaccinations now being available for everyone 12 and above, we felt like it was the right decision to make masks optional," said Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

It's a decision that impacts more than 30,000 children, their families, and the social distancing they've grown accustomed to.

"Next fall, many more students will be returning to our schools, returning to our classrooms, so we will not have the distance. We won't have the six feet as asked by the CDC, but we'll still do everything we can to social distance as much as possible."

ABC 27 reached out to several parents who support the idea, however, none of them were willing to speak on camera.

Others turned to social media saying they believe masks should remain mandatory. Even grandparents like Wendy Halleck, think the decision was premature.

"I think part of the problem with this sudden decision," said Hallek, "It's not like saying it's going to happen in the fall, it starts Monday. So parents who had made the decision to send their children to Leon County Schools summer programs have no other options at this point. All the camps are full."

Halleck says she thinks removing masks would be better timed once vaccinations are available for children under 12.

"We are again strongly encouraging everyone that has an opportunity to get vaccinated," Hanna said. "Vaccinated or not, however, masks will become optional this summer beginning June 14."

Fall classes are set to begin on August 11.