School Board Revises and Clarifies Face Mask Policy

Operating Protocols to Board Policy 8450

Policy 8450

 

Protocolo operativo para la Política 8450

Política

 

***TO ALL EMPLOYEES***

 sdmc logo

 

August 14, 2020

 

The School Board of Manatee County held an Emergency Board Meeting this afternoon to discuss revisions to Policy 8450 - Control of Casual-contact Communicable Diseases. In addition to other provisions, Policy 8450 deals with wearing face masks at schools, on school buses and at other district facilities.

On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, the School Board approved a version of Policy 8450 mandating that all employees, visitors and students wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth while on school property, facilities, transportation vehicle, including school buses and/or engaged in school activities. The Emergency Board Meeting was called to discuss possible revisions to the version of Policy 8450 passed on Tuesday.

The revisions passed by the School Board today, along with Operating Protocols to Board Policy 8450, more closely align the policy with current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They also make certain allowances to students and employees when it comes to the face mask mandate, such as:

  • Students who need a break from their face mask, may do so with teacher permission provided social distancing can be maintained under specific outdoor circumstance (not indoor).

  • No face covering is required during physical education classes, recess, or other outdoor activities as long as social distancing practices are in place. Students must wear cloth face masks to and from physical education class and to and from the recess location or activity.

  • Face shields that completely cover the face, wrap around the face and extend below the chin, will be allowed to be worn by students in Grades PreK-5 and students with disabilities only in the classroom during specific instructional periods as long as either social distancing practices are in place and/or physical barriers of separation are in place between students. A cloth face mask must be worn during all other times and locations. Face shields are not substitutes for cloth face masks nor are being used for normal everyday activities and only allowed in this narrow use.

  • Employees who need a break from wearing their face mask while on school property, may do so if alone in their own office or classroom or outdoors maintaining social distancing.  An employee may not utilize common space, for example a conference room, break room, stairwell or any unoccupied location for a mask break. A cloth face mask must be worn during all other times and locations.

In addition, the protocols recognize the CDC guidance that “wearing face masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a face mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a face mask or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.”

The revised version of Policy 8450 passed today is above, along with the complete Operating Protocols to Board Policy 8450.