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Protective gear policy for schools inches forward

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Sep 24, 2020

The Emergency Requirement for Protective Gear policy came back before the school board Tuesday afternoon to continue the process of the permanent rule with some changes to the language.

The new language within the policy includes “The procedures, or guidelines, shall expire as soon as the Federal Centers for Disease Control, the State of Florida Department of Health and/or other local health officials advice that the protective gear is no longer recommended and/or required.”

The policy is intended to give the district the ability to confront a health emergency, including a pandemic and infectious disease situation, which “might require, or warrant the wearing of protective gear to include masks, shields, glasses, hazmat suits, or other coverings pursuant to guidelines, directives and/or advice issued by the Federal Centers for Disease Control, the State of Florida Department of Health and/or other local health officials, those guidelines and/or directives will be followed.”

Board Attorney Kathy Dupuy-Bruno said the board voted for the 1.181 emergency rule and adopted it on Sept. 2. She explained that the rule is good for 90 days.

“We are now in the permanent rule process,” she said.

The process includes the rule being noticed and followed by appropriate procedural days.

“What happens is you notice it, publish it, then 14 days after that, after the notice, you have a briefing, which is what we are having today,” Dupuy-Bruno said. “Then after this another 14 days we have to wait to go to the final second reading, which will also include a public hearing, comments, on Oct. 6.”

Board Member Melisa Giovannelli asked if the new verbiage is automatic, or does it need some kind of action.

“Because the superintendent is the one drafting the guidelines, the way that this is written, it’s almost like an automatic expiration once the CDC and DOH give their say they are no longer required,” Dupuy-Bruno said. “But in this particular situation the superintendent will probably write a letter to at least let the principals know and advise the rest of the staff in the district it is no longer required.”

In addition, she said the superintendent will notify the school board and district simultaneously.

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