The School District of Indian River County voted 3-2 to mandate masks for students in kindergarten through eighth grade starting Monday, August 30, 2021. This mandate will last at least through September 15, 2021.
As of Monday, staff members and students will be required to wear masks indoors when social distancing is not possible and on the school buses.
Many parents showed up to the meeting to speak and inform the school board that they would be breaking the law if they voted the mask mandate into effect.
The new mandate will not allow parents to opt their children out unless they have documentation from a medical professional.
Thus far, more than 128 students and 74 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Following the vote, some parents went to Facebook to encourage others to report the school board for violating Governor Ron DeSantis’s 2021-175 EO and the DOE Emergency order.
“School Board of Indian River County is disgusting. They just defied the law & ripped parents of their right to choose for our kids. They just voted for Mandatory Masking for K-8,” one concerned parent stated.
Some parents remain neutral about the mask mandate in their children’s schools.
“I see both sides of the argument. I had opted out of masks as my parental right but told my kids they had to wear masks until I deemed it safe not to wear them. So I am not upset by the mask mandate,” another parent told Sebastian Daily.
This pro-mask parent wishes they would have begun the school year with masks.
“While I applaud Dr. Moore and the board members who have sided with evidence rather than emotions on this issue, this vote should have taken place prior to the opening of schools. My 6th-grade daughter contracted COVID-19 from school last week despite wearing a KN95 mask per the recommendations. Unfortunately, she is the only person in our house unvaccinated because she is too young. We need schools to stay open for in-person instruction, and I feel implementing this safety precaution provides the best chance to achieve that objective. While I respect individual rights, this is a matter of communal benefit that will help us all get through this pandemic,” stated a pro-mask parent.
The school board will revisit this decision at the next school board meeting held at J.A. Thompson Administrative Center, 6500 57th Street, in Vero Beach, on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm.