The long-fought mask war is finally finished.
On Thursday, shortly after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed several bills into law, Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) announced it was immediately dropping its mask mandate. ACPS spokesperson Jackie Johnson said the new policy is a result of the legislation state lawmakers passed during this week’s special session.
The decision brings to a close a months-long battle between local school officials and the state, which included protests, lawsuits and federal government intervention that put both the school board and ACPS Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon in the national spotlight.
The school district sent out the following message Thursday afternoon:
Alachua County Public School families:
Earlier today a new state law was signed that blocks public schools in Florida from requiring masks for students. As a result, masks are now optional for all students, and an opt out form is no longer required for families who do not want their child to wear a mask in school or on a school bus.
Alachua County Public School students may wear masks in school if their families wish, and masks are still recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The new law also allows parents to decide if a student with no symptoms should quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Quarantining is strongly recommended for unvaccinated people who have contact with a positive COVID case, and is still required for anyone with symptoms.
We encourage students and families to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID in our schools, homes and community.