Lee County Schools plans to add opt-out back to mask mandate

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State Rep. Spencer Roach is threatening to fire Superintendent Ken Savage if he doesn’t do away with a mask mandate in the Lee County school district. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The School District of Lee County plans to return the parent/student mask opt-out as an option to the current school mask mandate, school board member Melisa Giovanelli told WINK News Monday.

Giovanelli told us school employees will still be required to wear masks through the end of the month, when masks will be up for discussion again.

“I don’t think we pick and choose what laws we have to follow,” Giovannelli told WINK News. “I support the law giving the opt out. I support masks as well. It’s up to individual.”

In a letter sent to parents of Lee County students, Interim Superintendent Ken Savage confirmed the opt-out option will be reissued, since a stay is in place allowing Florida Department of Education to enforce its interpretation of parental opt-out for masks in schools.

“Starting on Tuesday, September 14, The School District of Lee County will require face coverings, while allowing parents to opt-out without a medical exemption. This applies while being indoors on school campuses, indoors at school sponsored activities, and on school busses,” Savage sent in a letter to parents. “As the stay only applies to students, District employees will still be required to wear masks and follow the medical exemption process as set forth through Human Resources.”

MORE: Lee County Schools superintendent letter to parents

Parents are split over whether this is something to be considered as a victory.

Racheal Ballard believes this will help her daughters who has autism and a speech delay.

“Wearing a mask for her that covers up and they can’t try and make out what she’s saying,” Ballard said. “So therefore, she wears a mask, and sometimes the words don’t make sense, and you can’t see her lips and try to figure it out.”

Sandra Lynn says her her child will still wear a mask to school.

“She said she wanted to. She wanted to feel safe at school,” Lynn said. “She didn’t want to be stuck at home quarantining, so she’s going to wear her mask.”

Both parents agree the back and forth on masks in schools has been challenging.

“It’s so up and down,” Lynn said. “Can we just make one thing, and you know, everybody stick with it for however long.”

“It’s not just a mess for me, but it’s confusing for them,” Ballard said.

Original story below

Mask mandate debate continues in Lee County schools

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