Palm Beach County schools cancel mask opt-out for students


Gianna Grieco

Students wear masks in the classroom for safety precautions.

The mask mandate on public school campuses will be reinstated starting Aug. 22 for the 2021-2022 school year. As Fla. continues to see a rise of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Palm Beach County School Board is no longer letting parents opt their children out of wearing a face covering on campus, defying Gov. Ron Desantis, who banned the mask mandate on July 30.

Various Jupiter High students agree with this new mask policy.

“Wearing masks is our only protection against this virus, especially since we attend such a highly populated school,” Zach Thomas, junior, said.

The new mask policy states only students with a disability may be exempt.

Initially, the Palm Beach School Board voted to make face coverings optional; parents decided whether or not their child would wear a mask to school. The Palm Beach School Board voted 6-1 to make masks mandatory on Aug. 18.

The decision puts the district alongside Broward, Alachua, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties, also making facial coverings mandatory in public schools.

In the first two weeks of school, more than 100 school employees and more than 800 students have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Palm Beach County school district. Hundreds more have been instructed to stay home after coming in contact with students or employees on campus that have tested positive for the virus.

“Considering the fact that COVID-19 cases have gone up significantly since school started, I think masks requirements are necessary, especially for people who have not been vaccinated,” Christopher Mayberry, senior, said. For more information on COVID-19 cases in Palm Beach County, visit