Facial Covering Update from Superintendent Fennoy

Facial Covering Update from Superintendent Fennoy
Posted on 05/13/2021
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SDPBC Letterhead - Office of the Superintendent, Dr. Donald E. Fennoy II; Board Members, Frank A. Barbieri, Jr., Esq., Board Chairman, Karen Brill Board Vice Chair, Marcia Andrews, Alexandria Ayala, Barbara McQuinn, Debra Robinson, M.D., Erica Whitfield; www.palmbeachschools.org

Dear Students, Staff, Parents, and Guardians:

As the District focuses on closing out the current school year with the health and well-being of our students and staff our utmost priority, we are also making decisions that will affect the 2021-2022 school year. One of those decisions involves the status of mandatory facial coverings that are currently required for students on School District property.

I’d like to thank all of the parents, guardians, and staff who took the time to share their thoughts and concerns respectfully with the District.

According to the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the wearing of facial coverings, as outlined in Covid-19 Student Policy, is an effective means of preventing the transmission of COVID-19, particularly when worn indoors.

For that reason, facial coverings will remain mandatory on campuses and buses through June 18, 2021, which is the last day of the school year for students. Facial coverings will also be mandatory during next month’s high school graduation ceremonies and for students enrolled in Summer School.

However, in light of the downward trend in the positivity rate in Palm Beach County, the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults and children, and Governor DeSantis’ recommendation against facial coverings in schools in the fall, I am exercising my authority, as outlined in the Covid-19 Student Policy to suspend portions of this policy and declare that facial coverings will be optional when students return to school on August 10, 2021.

However, it is important to note that if health conditions deteriorate, and this decision is no longer viable, I reserve the authority to change course. I cannot overstate that the health and safety of our students and staff is the School Board’s top priority, and will always guide our decision-making.

COVID-19 safety measures, such as enhanced cleaning and sanitization, the usage of MERV-13 filters for HVAC systems, social distancing when possible, and other health protocols will remain in place as will policies for employees and visitors.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as the District continues to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Donald E. Fennoy II, Ed.D.
Superintendent, School District of Palm Beach County

The School District of Palm Beach County