DCPS implements new COVID-19 safety measures as students, teachers return to class

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thousands of students in Duval County will return to class Tuesday as the omicron variant of COVID-19 rapidly spreads.

Duval County Public Schools is adding some safety measures in hopes of curbing the virus.

“If masking has been proven to decrease spreading, then it’s something that I don’t mind doing at all. My son is wearing a mask right now. It’s not a policy that I would technically need to feel push back against,” parent Theron Douglas said.

Douglas said he has no problem getting his son to wear a mask, and has talked to him about the importance of masking up.

Starting Tuesday, DCPS will require visitors and employees to wear masks while students will be encouraged but not required to wear them. Field trips will be postponed, and capacity at sporting and performing arts events will be reduced to 75 percent. Because of a law passed in November, Florida school districts like DCPS cannot mandate students to wear masks.

“Students, we will strongly encourage them to wear masks but we cannot mandate that they wear masks,” DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said.

The district has also made some changes to its classrooms by updating the air filters so they do a better job of keeping the air clean.

“I think that the best you can do is mask and making sure that people who can get vaccinated and want to get vaccinated are to help prevent the spread,” Douglas said, adding that he supports DCPS’ new protocols.

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