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What Gainesville plans for masks, vaccines for returning to school
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Gainesville Middle School students wear masks while walking to their next class Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams reiterated at Monday’s school board meeting that the district will not “police” mask wearing or require proof of vaccination. Masks will be encouraged, he said, but not required.

The Gainesville Board of Education released its Comprehensive Health Guide on Monday, July 19. 

The red signs that were on campuses last year saying masks were required will be replaced with yellow signs saying masks are encouraged. 

Williams said the district will begin communicating its health guidelines to parents Tuesday. The information is available on the district’s Back to School tab on its website. The school year will have a staggered start beginning Aug. 11. 

Vaccinated students and employees do not have to quarantine if they have come into close contact with a confirmed case — as long as they are non-symptomatic. A person who has no symptoms but has not been vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 10 days, though they can “exit quarantine early if certain conditions are met.” Williams said via text that these conditions have to do with a negative test and seven days since exposure. 

Anyone who has come into close contact with a confirmed case, regardless of symptom or vaccination status, will have to complete a Post COVID-19 questionnaire and have their temperature checked on their first day back to school. 

Additionally, cafeterias will be opened to 50%, and schools will provide more playground and field trip options. Classroom seats will be placed three feet apart “when feasible,” and seating charts will be used “to help support case investigation,” the guidelines say. 

For more information, visit the school system’s website