Face coverings and masks will remain optional for PCPS students and staff during the 2021-22 school year, as previously decided by the Polk County School Board via a unanimous vote last month.
At Tuesday’s work session, the school board agreed to move forward with removing language about face coverings/masks from PCPS’ official policies. Board members will vote on this policy change at a future meeting, following a public hearing.
However, procedures regarding face coverings will remain in the Code of Student Conduct. Since face coverings are optional this year, students who choose to wear them must comply with general dress code and school uniform requirements; face coverings that feature inappropriate images or messages are not permitted.
In addition, the Code of Conduct addresses how face coverings should be worn properly. Schools can notify parents when students are not wearing face coverings properly, so a family discussion can take place. The proper wearing of face coverings will not be a disciplinary matter, as they are optional.
The school board can reinstate student and staff requirements for face coverings/masks if it becomes necessary as determined by public health conditions, or directives issued by the state or federal government. Although face coverings will be optional next year, PCPS will continue to use additional sanitation and safety procedures (adopted during 2020-21) to help protect students and staff against the spread of COVID-19.