Mask requirement for all adults in Miami-Dade public schools; Masks for schoolchildren are urgently desired

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida. – All adults are required to wear face masks in all Miami-Dade County public school facilities, while students are strongly encouraged to wear masks when they return to class next Monday, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Thursday.

The employees in school buses also have to wear masks.

The school principal said Florida law would not force students to wear masks, but said the school board is consulting with their legal team to review any options they have around the state’s ban on masking requirements for students to contest.

The mask requirement for adults does not only apply to school staff, but also to parents or any visitors who enter school facilities.

WATCH: Full press conference with M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho

Experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to recommend universal masking in schools – regardless of vaccination status.

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Last month, the school principal announced that face masks would be optional for students as long as parents submit an opt-out form.

The change was made because children 5 years and older are now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 and the school district operated vaccination centers in certain schools.

At that time, South Florida also saw a decline in Covid cases, but we are now in the midst of an increase largely due to the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

While studies show that people with the Omicron variant had less severe symptoms than those with the Delta variant, Carvalho said it is still worrying that hospitalization rates have increased in South Florida and across the US, including the pediatric departments.

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Carvalho said schools will follow social distancing protocols and require people attending school sporting events to wear masks.

He said the district will follow the CDC’s quarantine recommendation for those who have symptoms of the virus. This means that students and staff do not have to be in quarantine for more than five days if they have symptoms.

Carvalho said they could return to campus after walking without a fever for 24 hours without taking any antipyretic drug.

According to the school principal, schools will continue with health screenings and hygiene measures and parents are asked to complete their child’s daily health screenings before returning to school on Monday.

To access this questionnaire, visit Backtoschool.dadeschools.net. The questionnaire is available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

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