Palm Beach County Schools switch to optional masks for employees and visitors

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With COVID-19 cases steadily declining over the past two weeks, employees, visitors and vendors who are indoors at Palm Beach County schools will not be required to wear masks starting Monday.

Masks will be “strongly encouraged” but not required, a statement from the school district said.

The county’s positivity rate as of this week was 19.7%, a drop from 24.8% a week ago. Though that rate is still considered high, the School District said in a statement that percentage is significantly lower than the spike seen after winter break.

Students have not been required to wear masks on district property but are still encouraged to wear them, the school district said. Symptomatic students whose guardians have signed consent forms will continue to be tested by school nurses.

“The highly transmissible Omicron variant has also proven to be less severe than the previous Delta variant,” Friday’s statement said. “Based on this information, Superintendent [Mike] Burke has made the decision to return to an optional, but strongly encouraged, facial covering status for these groups.”

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