This post was published on 04/07/2021.
Clarification: The authority of Pasco Schools to require masks is dependent on whether or not Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order is extended beyond the expiration date of April 26. If the Executive Order is not extended, the district will have no choice but to make masks optional.
At this time, masks are required for all students, staff, and visitors to Pasco school campuses and district offices. As he stated in a release yesterday (Monday), it is Superintendent Kurt Browning’s wish to keep the mask requirement in place for the remainder of the school year. However, the Superintendent will only maintain the requirement as long as there is an Executive Order in place.
Background: Why is this an issue now? On Monday, April 5, Pasco County rescinded the countywide mask mandate. That had no direct impact on any organizations not under the authority of Pasco County government. On Monday, Superintendent Browning made it clear that the county’s announcement had no impact on the school district, and that the school district’s mask requirement is still in place.
At the regularly scheduled School Board meeting on April 6th, Superintendent Browning notified the Board members that the school district’s mask requirement is dependent on the Governor’s current Executive Order. Over the course of the past year, due to the pandemic the Governor has extended the Executive Order numerous times for 60-day increments. At this time, it is unclear whether the Governor will extend the current Executive Order beyond April 26. As soon as that question is answered, the school district will communicate with parents and staff.