Facial coverings while on School District property

Facial Coverings Update, effective Monday November 8, 2021
Posted on 11/06/2021
A message

November 6, 2021

Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

Based on a new development at the State level, the School District will be moving to an opt-out status for facial coverings for students in all grade levels beginning this Monday, November 8, rather than on November 15 as you were originally informed.

A ruling yesterday by Division of Administrative Hearings Judge Newman found the Department of Health’s Emergency Rule 64DER21-15 to be valid, therefore, a parent face covering opt-out will be reinstated effective Monday.

The School Board, and the Superintendent, have done everything within their power to prioritize the health of our students and staff. Despite this change, we continue to believe that the District's decisions have complied with the law and our Constitutional duty to keep our campuses safe and our schools open for in-person instruction.

Fortunately, local health conditions have improved dramatically in recent weeks and the risk of virus transmission is far less than it was back in mid-August when the parent opt out was rescinded. Palm Beach County’s positivity rate has fallen from 17.9% as of August 18, 2021 to 2.9% as of yesterday. Over this same period, the number of positive cases per 100,000 over a seven day average dropped from 622.9 to 53.9.

The District extends its gratitude to our students, staff, and the entire community for cooperating in all of the protective measures put in place to mitigate the transmission of the virus and help Palm Beach County get to this point of recovery.

The School District will continue to maintain all other safety mitigation measures including the use of MERV-13 air filters, portable HEPA air purification units in classrooms and clinics, enhanced cleaning, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer.

Additionally, the District will continue to work with the Health Care District to make vaccines accessible and convenient for students ages 5 through 11, who are eligible for the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. You will find a list of vaccination sites here.

These same sites will also immunize those 12 and older who would like to receive the adult version of the Pfizer vaccine.

Students, staff, parents, and guardians 18 years, and older, do not require a parent’s consent to receive the vaccine. However, children aged 5-17 require a signed consent from their parent or guardian, and a parent or guardian must also be present with the child at the time of the vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary, and not required for students or staff.

Parents and guardians, the District strongly encourages students to continue wearing a facial covering while indoors on District property. However, if you would prefer to opt-out, please send a signed note to the school informing your child’s first-period teacher of this decision. Students who already have their opt-out permissions on file with their school do not need to take further action.

Parents, guardians, and staff thank you for your patience and support amid the changing landscape of the pandemic.

The School District of Palm Beach County