Students and staff members in Indian River County will have to continue wearing face masks on school campuses, at least for now.
After hours of public comment and debate on Thursday, school board members voted 3 to 2 to keep the school district's face mask requirements in place.
However, they're directing Superintendent Dr. David Moore to create a students' rights and responsibilities guide, which would outline specifically where on school campuses face masks are required, where they're recommended, and where they're optional.
This was such a hot button issue that school board members met until midnight Tuesday and still needed more time to continue their discussion.
More than 260 people submitted emails to be read as public comment. Board members spent about three hours on Thursday reading those emails before discussing the issue and ultimately voting on it around 1:15 p.m.
On Tuesday, school board members listened to hours of public comment from people on both sides of the issue. Parents, teachers, students, and bus drivers were among those who spoke out. Some wanted to relax the face mask rules at schools, while others wanted things to stay the same.
The president of the Indian River County teachers' union said the majority of teachers support keeping the mask mandate in place.
Because of the ongoing debate, the School District of Indian River County said it's extending the deadline for parents to change their child’s mode of instruction -- either in-person or remote learning -- until one day after the school board reaches a decision on the mask mandate.