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POLK COUNTY – During a Polk County School Board work session July 28, several board members expressed opposition to the “no mask, no class” concept.

Board members were debating whether to add mandated masks to the student code of conduct.

On the subject of what to do if a student refuses to wear a mask, there appears to be a verbal consensus — when a student refuses, call the parent.

If the parent wants the student wearing a mask, discipline may be appropriate on a case-by-case basis. If the parent opposes masks, the board suggested staff create a learning opportunity.

The board vote for placing masks in the student code of conduct is scheduled to take place Aug. 25, the day after most public schools are scheduled to reopen.

Polk County Health Department Director Dr. Joy Jackson is scheduled to speak to the board during a work session meeting Aug. 11.

Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd has repeatedly said that the school reopening date is flexible, should pandemic related statistics merit extending the reopening date a second time.

Students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade are subject to discipline associated with the student code of conduct. Preschool-aged students would be highly recommended to wear masks in school handbooks, if the code change passes as debated.

Staff said the change could be written in such a way that changes could be made when warranted.