MIAMI – A notice went out over the weekend that face masks will be optional in classrooms across Miami-Dade County as of Monday.
Masks had already been optional for students but until Monday had still been mandatory for all adults on school campuses.
The face coverings are still encouraged for everyone at schools.
The rollback on the policy is happening as COVID-19 cases are easing across Florida.
Navigating the pandemic will be one of many challenges for incoming superintendent Jose Dotres, whose first day is Monday.
His main mission will be to start figuring out how to cure COVID-induced learning losses among students.
“We can do this,” Dotres said. “We can do this. However, we need to be very strategic. Very intentional and consistently monitor how students are progressing both academically and on the social-emotional side. You cannot divide one from the other.”
In Broward County, Vickie Cartwright’s tenure as permanent superintendent is also just beginning.
That district already made face masks an option in classrooms and facilities, citing a decline of COVID cases.
Cartwright’s immediate focus will shift to hiring key administrators, such as a new chief of school safety.
Cartwright is worried though about moves being made in Tallahassee, such as the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which has already passed a state senate vote.
“To say, ‘Alright, we’re going to remove that safe place now and by the way, we can’t talk about it. No, no, no, no. We’re going to exclude you and not even recognize how you identify.’ It is a slippery slope and it’s very dangerous,” Cartwright said.