DELAND, Fla. — With COVID-19 cases surging in the area, a Volusia County Health Dept. official told the county school board Tuesday night to follow the new CDC guidelines for masks in schools.

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The CDC announced Tuesday that it was revising guidelines again and recommended everyone wear masks at school, regardless of vaccination status.

Sarah Mancuso has mixed feelings about her children heading back to school in a few short weeks.

“The numbers ticking up again just as they are so excited to go back and get back to any sense of normalcy — it is disheartening,” Mancuso said.

One of her bigger concerns is masks being optional. While her eighth-grader, McKenzie, is vaccinated, her 10-year-old son, Seth, is still too young.

“You know it makes me nervous because he is not vaccinated, he is around other children that are not vaccinated, and coming from homes that also may not be vaccinated, so you have that transmittable possibility that could happen,” Mancuso said.

Back in June, the school board voted to make masks optional for summer school and the upcoming school year. Patricia Boswell of the Volusia County Health Department shared she initially supported that decision given the vaccination and positivity rates at the time but believes there is now need for a different policy.

“I recommend that we follow the CDC guidance,” Boswell said.

Initially, she planned to recommend masks only for those who are unvaccinated. However the CDC released the new guidelines just hours before her presentation, prompting her to change course.

Boswell said they are concerned about a new surge in Volusia County and are currently investigating five summer camps for COVID-19 outbreaks.

“July 26, we had 536 reported cases of COVID to the health department, which gives us an overall positivity rate of 20.54%," Boswell said. "We’ve never had a positivity rate that high throughout this pandemic here in Volusia County.”

She said 96.5% of those cases are in unvaccinated individuals.

“Everyone has a right to make their decisions for what is best for them and their children, certainly I respect evey parent and their right to make those decisions.” Boswell said. “I would just say to them there are consequences to those decisions.”

For Mancuso, a new mask mandate would give her peace of mind sending both her children back, something she hopes the board considers.

“I hope they listen to opinions from a scientific community on both sides and make a decision based on science,” Mancuso said.

According to School Boardmember Carl Persis, the board is only slated to listen to the Department of Health’s presentation. While they will likely discuss it afterward, he said there will be no formal action taken.