SARASOTA — Despite the lower COVID-19 positivity rate in the area recently, the Sarasota County Schools mask requirement has not been lifted yet for students and school employees.
That’s because the rate needs to fall beneath 8% in Sarasota County three days in a row, and that has not happened yet.
On Monday, the positivity rate went down to 7.37%, possibly starting the count for the three consecutive days needed to halt the mask policy. Tuesday’s rate was not available by press time.
After a temporary emergency mask policy was implemented, the district has closely monitored the COVID-19 positivity rates in the county.
The rates for Sarasota County dipped below 8% last Thursday, but continued to go slightly above 8% over the weekend, restarting the consecutive days count.
Per the mask policy, if the rates hit below 8% for three consecutive days, the mask policy will automatically be lifted in the county schools. After the policy halts, if the rate goes above 10%, the mask policy will automatically reactivate.
Last Wednesday, the county’s positivity rate was 8.15% and continued to drop last Thursday to 7.61%.
However, the rate went back up to 8.9% on Friday, 8.05% on Saturday and 8.71% on Sunday.
While the mask policy is still in effect until Nov. 23, the rates trending lower could mean the end of the temporary policy soon.
“We will inform families and employees of any suspension, or reactivation, of the temporary emergency face mask policy as soon as possible,” said Kelsey Whealy, the Sarasota County Schools media relations specialist.