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Masks will be required at Leon County Schools to start year

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 11:27 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 11:47 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna announced Monday masks will be required at the beginning of the school year.

“I think this is the wise decision based on what’s going on here in Tallahassee and Leon County with the numbers we’re seeing,” Hanna says. “It’s all what’s best for kids and keeping our children safe.”

You can watch the press conference, which aired live on WCTV’s Facebook page, below.

Masks will be required for all students in Pre-K through eighth grade unless the students are given an exception by a doctor or psychiatrist for physical or mental health reasons. Those doctors’ notes need to be turned in by Friday, August 13, in order to be exempt from the mandate.

Hanna’s decision conflicts with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order issued in late July prohibiting mask requirements in schools. The order outlines possible sanctions against those schools including withholding of state funding.

Hanna sent a letter to the governor requesting local control on the issue, but says he did not hear back.

He says his decision comes after “a lot of soul searching over the weekend, a lot of thinking.”

The superintendent says he considered input from parents on both sides and had conversations with numerous people as he weighed the issue.

He says he reached the decision to require masks after seeking the advice of Dr. Tom Truman, who leads pediatrics at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

“Dr. Truman put it bluntly,” Hanna said, “He said the prudent thing to do, would be to start the school year off with a mask requirement. I think that’s the right thing to do. The goal is to keep kids out of the hospital.”

The superintendent says the mask requirement is temporary and the policy will be re-evaluated after Labor Day.

The mandate applies to all employees while indoors and not social distancing.

“Why would you not err on the side of caution?” Hanna asked in announcing the decision Monday morning.

You can read Hanna’s letter to the governor below.

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