Marion County Public Schools will start the new school year on August 10 with optional face coverings, full-capacity athletic and arts events, and common student spaces.
Face coverings can be worn by any student, staff member, or campus visitor/volunteer who feels it necessary to do so. Social distancing will be observed as much as possible, along with regular hand washing, daily disinfecting and use of water bottle refill stations.
Optional events like athletics, art and music performances will allow full audiences.
The loosening of restrictions implemented during COVID-19 had been a hot topic at multiple meetings of the Marion County School Board over the year.
Before the school year ended, multiple parents shared their opinions about the upcoming school year’s mask ordinance.
“Passing a one-size fits all mask mandate would not be in keeping with this board’s commitment to serving our community,” said Lindsey Ardmore, who presented the board with a petition signed by 113 parents during a May meeting of the board.
The policy allows schools to make individual decisions based on their specific communities that could limit participation, according to Marion County Public Schools.
The agency reports it will continue its partnerships with the Florida Department of Health in Marion County and Marion County Emergency Management through weekly meetings.
Teachers return to Marion County schools on Monday, August 2, while students return that following week.