Orange County teachers’ union pushes for another change in district mask policy

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ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – In the wake of new guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on masks in schools, the Orange County Teachers Union has called for a change in the mask policy that was just passed there a week by the Orange County School Board.

But the district told News 6 it is not reviewing this policy at this time.

“At the moment, and we are about three weeks away from the first day of returning students, masks are optional,” said Scott Howat, communications director for Orange County Public Schools.

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Howat called the situation fluid, adding that a lot can happen in 3 weeks.

“I think you can still see a change if the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or local government entities issue guidelines that require masking, even though you know it for specific ages or specific grade levels,” said declared Howat.

But pediatrician Dr Candice Jones, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said masks should be worn in schools.

On Monday, the AAP released a new recommendation that anyone over the age of 2 wear a mask at school, whether or not they have been vaccinated.

“The reasoning behind this is that not all students will be vaccinated, so we will have this mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated students at the start of the next school year, the variants are also on the increase,” Dr. Jones.

Orange County Classroom Teachers Association president Wendy Doromal said the union would like to see masks this fall as well.

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“We have heard from a lot of teachers since yesterday who are very concerned; we know the CDC has said they are going to review the recommendations they sent out, and we just think it’s best when you’re dealing with a pandemic to be cautious, ”Doromal said.

Howat said the district’s new mask policy would take effect on August 2 and added that currently in the Orange County summer program, a mandatory mask policy is in place for students and staff.

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