State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who has been an ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis on controversial issues such as student mask requirements and critical race theory, will step down from the post at the end of April, he announced Thursday.

Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran Says Student Mask Policy Should Be Voluntary

Florida’s Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran, says students should no longer be required to wear face masks inside of schools, starting in the fall semester.

Corcoran sent a letter to school district superintendents throughout the state on Wednesday, urging them to eliminate their current face mask mandates, and instead make facial coverings optional for students.

“We ask that districts, which currently are implementing a mandated face covering policy, revise their policy to be voluntary for the 2021-2022 school year,” Corcoran wrote in his letter.

Corcoran said face mask mandates in schools “do not impact the spread of the virus,” based on health data.

“Face coverings are a personal decision and certainly families and individuals should maintain their ability to make a decision that is unique to their circumstances,” Corcoran wrote. “Broad sweeping mandatory face-covering policies serve no remaining good at this point in our schools.”

Corcoran added that face masks “inhibit peer-to-peer learning,” and may also “impede instruction” for “students with disabilities and English language learners who benefit from viewing a teacher’s face and mouth.

On March 19th, the CDC revised their recommendations for schools such as physical distancing recommendations to reflect at least 3 feet between students in classrooms and provide clearer guidance when a greater distance, such as 6 feet, is recommended, and removed the recommendation for physical barriers.

However, the CDC still recommends students wear masks universally.

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