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Biggest Florida school district, Miami-Dade, eases mask rule

November 1, 2021 GMT

MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s largest school district announced Monday that it is relaxing its mask mandate meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 for high school and middle school students.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during a news conference that parents of older students can opt them out of the district’s mask requirement. The new rules take effect immediately.

Students and teachers at elementary schools and K-8 schools will still have to wear masks, but Carvalho said the mandate might also be relaxed for younger students if infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop in South Florida.

Miami-Dade joins Broward and Orange counties, which previously relaxed their mask policies. Broward school board members voted last week to relax its mask requirement for high school students. Orange County Public Schools’ 60-day mask mandate expired Saturday, and officials didn’t extend it.

The vaccine against COVID-19 has been approved for children as young as 12, which would include most high school students and some middle school students. Federal approval could come for children as young as 5 later this week.