Sharp Decline in COVID Cases Leads to Lifting of Mask Mandate

Thursday, October 21, 2021

On August 24, 2021, the School Board directed Superintendent Cynthia Saunders to extend a mask mandate with an opt-out provision for all students and employees through Friday, October 29, 2021. The 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate in Manatee County on August 24th was 18.1%. In its directive, the School Board included a provision that would allow the superintendent to remove the mandate if the 7-day positivity rate reached 8%.

Now that the 7-day positivity rate for COVID-19 cases in Manatee County has been below 5% since Saturday, October 9th, and positive cases in our schools have declined sharply and steadily, the School District is lifting the mask mandate with opt-out provisions for students and employees. The positivity rate for Tuesday, October, 19, 2021 was 4.3%, according to the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County.

That being the case, wearing masks in schools and district support sites is optional for students and employees. Opt-out forms are no longer needed. (Please follow the Manatee Education Association’s Memorandum of Understanding with the district regarding protocols for school visitors. The MEA-MOU protocols are the same for district and non-district visitors). District staff visiting schools will now follow this MOU language.

Other key COVID-19 prevention measures will continue to stay in place such as routine hand-washing, daily cleaning and disinfecting and making sure students and employees who are sick or who have COVID-19 symptoms stay home until they are cleared to return to school.