FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases during the holidays driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, Broward’s School Board will hold an emergency meeting Friday to review and possibly revise their safety protocols.

One option being considered is for all employees, vendors, and visitors be required to wear face coverings while indoors at any district school, facility, or vehicle. If accepted it would go into effect on Monday, January 3rd. Masks for students would remain optional but strongly encouraged.

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The option is similar to what Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced on Thursday. Beginning Monday, Jan. 6, all adults entering county schools, vendors, and visitors, along with bus drivers and bus attendants will have to wear masks. Masks will also be required for all spectators at school athletic events. Masks will not be required for students, but they are strongly urged to wear them.

Dr. Lisa Gwynn, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami, says there’s a very real concern for kids when it comes to the Omicron variant.

“If parents do not use send their kids to school with masks, the infection rates are just going to go higher and higher,” says Dr. Gwynn.

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Due to a law that went into effect last November, neither school district cannot require students to wear masks. However, they can strongly encourage it to help control the spread of the virus.

They’ve also asked parents and guardians to keep their children home if they are sick, exhibiting symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19.

This school year, school districts were not allowed to provide intermittent virtual school options to students due to the Florida Department of Education’s emergency orders expiring this past summer and the new law, state actions that the district or School Board cannot modify.

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The school district said will continue to work with local health officials, and follow guidance from the CDC as it evaluates and adjusts COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

CBSMiami.com Team