District maintains mask mandates for all schools

A Manatee County School District mandate for students and staff to wear face masks remained in place, including at Anna Maria Elementary in Holmes Beach.

The policy, a 90-day emergency measure, is set to expire Nov. 10 but the school board met in a workshop Oct. 8 and said the policy would be amended and continued in November.

Board vice Chair Charlie Kennedy said members likely would receive phone calls and emails from parents complaining about the mandate, but he intends to continue to vote in its favor.

“I will not be dissuaded” from that position until “communicable disease professionals say it’s safe to lift the mandate,” Kennedy said during the workshop.

Because the emergency policy is non-renewable, school board members will have to write a new provision to be added to regular epidemic-related policies in November, said Kevin Chapman, director of strategic planning and district initiatives for the district.

He also said references to Manatee County’s mask mandate, which has been repealed, would need to be removed from the school policy.

The board was scheduled to hold a regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 13, after The Islander went to press.

The next board workshop will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, and the next board meeting will be at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. Both will be at the district headquarters at 215 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Agendas will be posted seven days earlier at www.manateeschools.net.

Workshops and meetings can be viewed online at www.manateeschools.net, as well as on Spectrum channel 646 and Frontier channel 39.

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