Masks are now Optional for Bay County Employees

I am sure, by now, you’ve heard that the School Board recently voted to make masks optional for employees.

The conversation with the board was NEVER about masking for students, the Governor’s Executive Order prohibits mask mandates for students, but we did start the school year with a two-week mask requirement for employees at my direction. Masks continue to be optional for students and are now optional for all employees.

Early in the summer, we were hoping that this school year would give us an opportunity to return to some of our “normal” operating procedures, but as the Delta variant became more widespread it became clear that, unfortunately, that won’t be an option for now, and so we need to continue some safety practices from last year.

Previously:Your Schools: How Bay District decides to close schools for bad weather

More:Your Schools: Be of value to others as new school year begins

Face masks are now optional for teachers and staff at Bay District Schools.

I know many of our parents and guardians were looking forward to visiting our schools to eat lunch with their students and to spend time with them during the school day, but it’s simply not in the best interests of our students or staff right now to open our doors to visitors. The contact tracing process for a COVID-19 exposure is very complex and time consuming, and we just can’t add a daily influx of visitors to those procedures and still have the time we need for teaching and learning. We also need to minimize the exposure of our students and staff to new people throughout the day.

Additionally, we must continue to postpone large, in-person gatherings like Open Houses until we see if the current surge in our community decreases next month. We certainly hope that’s the case for all of our sakes and if it is, we will be happy to offer in-person Open House events at each of our schools as soon as possible. In the meantime, parents and guardians can certainly use Parent Portal to reach out directly to their child’s teachers with any questions they may have.

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