MONROE COUNTY (CBSMiami) – The highly contagious delta variant is fueling a surge in coronavirus cases as students return to classrooms across the nation and in South Florida which is leading school districts to update rules regarding wearing masks or facial coverings on campus.

The Monroe County Public School District, which previously announced facial coverings for students and staff would be strongly encouraged but not mandatory, updated its mask policy on Wednesday.

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School starts on August 12 in the Florida Keys. Facial coverings are required for everyone inside Monroe County schools and on buses for the next two weeks.


However, parents and guardians may choose to opt-out of this requirement, as mandated by the Florida Department of Health, by filling out an opt-out form on the District COVID Resources page.

Visitors will not be allowed on District property for the first two weeks of school unless otherwise coordinated through school administration.

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The School District will revisit the mask mandate issue at each School Board Meeting and may make changes as the situation requires it.

The decision to require masks is in defiance of attempts by Gov. Ron DeSantis deter such mandates. DeSantis’ office said earlier the state’s Board of Education could move to withhold the superintendent’s or school board members’ salaries if his order isn’t met.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools will decide next week about what it will do for the upcoming school year. In May, the District said masks were optional.

Broward County Public Schools are also requiring masks, but includes the opt-out provision.

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