TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Leon County School Board awaits a response from the Florida Board of Education on if their new COVID-19 policy is aligned with the state's policy.
The new policy allows parental opt-outs for masks with no medical documentation for K-8 students and not quarantining kids if they test positive - but requiring masks for the duration of that period.
Leon County School Board member Rosanne Wood said the decision to change their policy came down to the numbers.
"We were elected to look out for the interest of our kids and our town and make the best decisions and that's what we've done," Wood said.
Wednesday Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare had 26 COVID-19 patients admitted. In comparison with August when they reported 125 patients admitted, the numbers have drastically declined.
"I'm thrilled that the numbers are going down," Wood said. "We all are. Everybody wants to go back to normal. People want to take off these darn masks and just let kids be kids."
This change in policy is not affecting the county's decision to stick with its pending lawsuit against the state.
According to the board of education, if this doesn't comply with the state's policy the fines would be about 1/12 of each school board member's salary for the next 12 months.
Eight counties were ruled in violation of the BOE including Leon County.
Wood said she wanted to wait a couple more weeks with the old policy because she wanted to see the decline in hospitalizations continue.
She said still requiring masks for kids during their quarantine period is a good step to ensuring safety.
"We do have to protect the vulnerable and our under 12-year-olds still can't get the vaccine and some of them are immunocompromised and so that's why we've had this policy, really to protect them," Wood said.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna said at the last school board meeting Tuesday he would change the policy back if the cases started to drastically climb again.