Parental Choice and Mask Opt-Out Options
In order to maintain a safe, in-person learning environment, Alachua County Public Schools’ mask requirement for students will remain in effect for the first two weeks of school and for all adults on ACPS property through September 17.
Families will have two options for opting-out of the mask requirement for their students.
1. Earlier today, the Florida Department of Education issued a new emergency rule mandated by Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 21-175. Under that rule, families who disagree with their school’s mask policy may apply for a Florida Hope Scholarship to attend a different public or private school. The scholarship provides transportation funding for students attending a school in a different district.
Families wishing to apply for a Hope Scholarship will need to complete the state’s Hope Scholarship Notification Form and have it signed by their school’s principal. Under Incident Type, the state asks families to check ‘Harassment’ and write ‘COVID-19’ next to it.
More information, including instructions on what to do with the completed form, is available at https://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/hope/hope-faqs.stml
2. A second option for a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their student from a mask requirement is the Student Mask Opt-Out Medical Exemption form. (The link is www.sbac.edu/maskoptout.) This form must be signed by a licensed medical doctor, a licensed osteopathic physician or a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner.
A new emergency rule from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) also makes some changes to protocols for students who have tested positive or who have been exposed to COVID-19. Those changes will be incorporated into the district’s reopening plan, which is available here.
A news release from Governor DeSantis’ Office regarding today’s developments is available here.
We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.
We look forward to welcoming your child back to a safe learning environment on August 10.