Sarasota County School Board member Shirley Brown wears a mask during a meeting Aug. 4.

SARASOTA — The Sarasota County School Board will discuss extending the district’s face-covering policy when they meet this week.

The board will first discuss the policy during their workshop at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Currently, the district requires all students and staff to wear face masks while on the bus or in the classroom, unless they have a medical exemption.

Those with medical exemptions will be required to wear a face shield, unless their doctor provides a separate exemption.

As of Friday, the district received 90 medical exemptions at the elementary level, 11 at the middle school level, and 24 at the high school level, which includes staff and students, according to district spokesperson Kelsey Whealy.

The policy was initially adopted by the district for 90 days. If extended, the policy would extend until June 30, 2021, unless extended or amended prior to that date, the policy describes.

“There is a huge swell of people emailing on both sides in advance of Tuesday,” said board member Bridget Ziegler.

“It seems very 50/50 at this point, but difficult to tell,” she added.

Board chair Caroline Zucker said most of the emails she had been responding to Friday seemed to be in favor of keeping the mask policy in place.

“As for me, I will always do what is necessary to protect our students and staff,” Zucker said.

“My son is a doctor in (Connecticut) and he wears a mask seven to 10 hours a day when he is in the operating room. He suffers no ill effects from using a mask all that time. My son told me this is our best assurance of keeping the virus at bay,” she added.


The board will also review their Capital Improvement Plan, which includes new builds, renovations and projects the district will take on within the next five years.

Some of these projects include:

• A $55 million K-8 school and a $4.8 million school site purchase budgeted for 2020-21.

• A $27 million refresh to the North Port High HVAC and science wing budgeted for 2021/22-2023/24, among other projects.

The school board workshop is set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, with the board meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. Guests can attend the meeting in person at the Landings Administrative Complex, 1980 Landings Blvd., Sarasota, or watch on the district’s YouTube channel at



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