The Pasco County School Board has made it official: Students, staff and visitors must wear face coverings on school campuses and in district buildings.
The board on July 28 unanimously adopted the emergency rule, proposed by Superintendent Kurt Browning.
The rule has been described as being “temporary” and is accompanied by guidelines for implementation.
School board member Megan Harding thanked Browning for proposing the rule.
“This is one more layer of safety for our students and staff, and visitors that come to our schools,” Harding said.
She asked district staff to provide additional guidance to teachers, to help them handle situations that arise, such as students needing mask breaks.
“I just hope we can give our teachers in school some scripted language that they can use from a social-emotional approach,” Harding said.
She also appealed to parents: “Parents, we’re going to need your help. Please start now, teaching your child how to properly and safely put a mask on.
“For the little ones, make it a game. Start by wearing the mask for 10 minutes and then gradually increase the time.
“For our older students, make it an appropriate fashion statement,” Harding said, noting she has seen many online stores selling masks in fun and fashionable designs.
School board member Alison Crumbley underscored the fact that the emergency rule is temporary, and is subject to change, as conditions change.
“We are carefully balancing the health and safety of our teachers and students, at this time, with student achievement,” Crumbley said, along with consideration for students’ social and emotional well-being.
School Board Chairwoman Colleen Beaudoin reiterated her support for requiring masks.
“I made a commitment to our students, teachers and staff that I would support a mandate to require face coverings, in an effort to protect all members of our Pasco Schools’ family.”
“I’m pleased there is the opportunity to give mask breaks, when social distancing can happen, and I hope we’ll be able to provide regular breaks to do just that.
“Please keep in mind that this is temporary. If we can start with this in place and the public follows CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines outside of school, then we can help drive down the COVID numbers and lift this emergency rule,” she said.
Published August 05, 2020