- Laurel Nokomis
The School Board of Sarasota County approved Emergency Policy 2020-2 during their August 18th meeting. This policy specifically addresses the wearing of face masks. To view the full, final policy, please click here.
The policy states that, barring several exceptions, all individuals – including students, employees, visitors, and vendors – must wear a face mask that covers both the nose and mouth at all times while at or inside any building, facility, or bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or operated by the School Board. The exceptions to the face mask policy are as follows:
- Infants: A face mask shall not be required for persons younger than two (2) years of age;
- Medical Certification: A face mask shall not be required for persons who present school officials with a certification from a licensed health care provider that the person has a medical, physical or psychological contraindication that prevents the person from being able to safely wear a face mask. If a person has a medical certification that he/she cannot wear a face mask, the person shall be required to wear a face shield unless the person also has a certification from a licensed health care provider that he/she has a medical, physical or psychological contraindication that prevents the person from also being able to safely wear a face shield;
- Driving Alone in District Vehicles: A face mask shall not be required for an individual who is occupying a vehicle without other passengers;
- Outdoors with Social Distancing: A face mask shall not be required for persons outside of any school district building or vehicle provided that such person maintains social distancing (six (6) feet minimum distance) from other persons;
- Indoors when Alone: A face mask shall not be required for persons inside a school district building when they are alone in an enclosed space such as an office space or a classroom;
- Regularly Scheduled Mealtimes: A face mask shall not be required for any person inside or outside a school district facility while such person is eating during a planned mealtime;
- Strenuous Physical Activity: A face mask shall not be required for any person inside or outside of any school district facility or school district building while such person is engaged in strenuous physical activity;
- Arts Classes (dance, music, theatre, visual art) and Performances: Face masks will be worn in arts classes during the school day. In band classes, the mask can be removed for playing, if needed, but replaced immediately for any talking, counting rests, etc. If a performance or rehearsal is outside or in a very large venue and proper social distancing is possible, removal of the mask may be permitted;
- During Receipt of Health Care: A face mask shall not be required for any person inside or outside of any school district facility when removal of the face mask is necessary for such person to receive health care or to undergo a health care examination from authorized health care personnel;
- Instructional Delivery: Teachers may choose to wear a face shield instead of a mask when the teacher believes wearing a face shield is appropriate to effectively deliver instruction; or
- Exigent Circumstances: A face mask will not be required if a person is experiencing acute trouble breathing, is unconscious or incapacitated, or is personally unable to remove the mask without assistance.
If you are an employee seeking a medical certification or if you are a parent/guardian seeking a medical certification for your child, you must fill out the COVID-19 FACE COVERING CERTIFICATION form, which can be found at the link below:
How to submit a completed medical certification form:
- School-Based Employees should return their completed medical certification form to their school.
- Non-School Based Employees should return their completed medical certification form to their immediate supervisor.
- Parents/Guardians should return their child’s completed medical certification form to their child’s school. Schools will be following up directly with their families about their form return process.
Employees and students that submit a correctly completed medical certification form will receive a card that corresponds to the specific exemption(s) on their individual form. Employees and students that are awarded a medical certification card should keep the card readily on their person while at or inside any building, facility, or bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or operated by the School Board.
–Sarasota County Schools