By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Public Schools is relaxing some of its protective COVID protocols including its mask mandate in middle and high schools.

Effective immediately, students in public middle and high schools can opt out of wearing masks, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced on Monday afternoon.

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However, the protocols remain the same at elementary and K-8 centers for now.

“There’s a number of reasons for that, as explained by our experts”, said Carvalho. “Number one, still the increased nature of individuals in those age ranges who are being vaccinated. And we want to test out the data for a number of additional days before we relax that protocol.”

“This is a step in the right direction as we continue to utilize the various mitigation protocols in use. As more people and students become vaccinated and continue to prioritize safety, the more steps forward we will be able to make. We will continue to follow science and protect our communities,” said United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez Mats.

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Carvalho said, they are “hopeful” and “confident” that mask mandates in elementary and K-8 centers will be relaxed “within days.”

DOWNLOAD: Mask Opt Out Form For Middle And High School Students

High school students in Broward also have the option not to wear a mask to school, but they are encouraged to do so.

Masks are still mandatory for middle and elementary school students.

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Last Tuesday, the district’s school board agreed to change their mask mandate in a 5-3 vote. Team