The Palm Beach County School Board held a meeting on Wednesday evening with several police officers standing by and masked and unmasked spectators watching from separate rooms. The board said it would follow the latest state regulation that uses a “symptoms-based approach” to quarantining students.
Around 40 people with masks attending the meeting sat in a separate section, while those who opted to have no face covering were placed in a room across the parking lot.
More than 50 attendees spoke in person or via video conference to address the school system’s Covid-19 policies during the board meeting. Some also called the board to relay their messages.
The school system is one of the state’s many that imposed a mask mandate, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stand on giving the parents the authority for face-covering decisions.
On Wednesday, the state announced a revised regulation allowing asymptomatic children exposed to Covid-19 to come to schools if preferred by a parent or guardian.
According to Florida’s new surgeon general and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Joe Ladapo, “Some parents may be less comfortable sending their kid back to school after being exposed, and so the new rule allows for those parents to keep their children home for some time, and the new rule also allows for parents who are more comfortable letting their healthy child return to school go back to school.”
According to the board, they are following the state’s “symptom-based approach” regarding quarantining.
“There’s a new surgeon general and he’s changed the decision tree, so now we modified our policy to meet the new surgeon general’s decision tree,” said Frank Barbieri, the school board chairman.
Most of the attendees of the meeting opposed the imposition of a mask mandate.
One participant came with their young daughter wearing a mask that said, “This is a control device.”
One person said he was barred from entering the meeting because of his signage. He was wearing a “defund the school board” sign around his neck. He said he was told signage was not allowed inside.
Most of the early speakers wearing masks strongly disagreed with the board for the mandate.