ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins announced Friday on Twitter that masks will be mandatory for students when they return to class Tuesday.

Jenkins made the announcement as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Orange County and across the state.

"Out of an abundance of caution for the safety or our students and employees, and after consultation with our health experts and school board members, I am implementing required face masks for all students unless the parent chooses to opt out of the requirement," she said in a tweet.

"Opting out means sending a simple note with your child on the first day of school, such as 'I am opting out of the face mask requirement for (child's name)' with your signature," Jenkins said in a subsequent tweet.

The new mandate will be in effect for 30 days starting Tuesday.

"We will continue to monitor the situation with our local experts and make a determination about how to proceed before the 30 days have expired," Jenkins said in a third tweet.

Jenkins made masks mandatory for all school staff and visitors on Thursday.

School district prepares for another school year

The Orange County school district is getting ready for another school year with the pandemic as the backdrop once again.

Orange County Public Schools officials said they are trying to do everything they can to try to keep everyone safe this school year, which includes effective on Friday face masks that are required for both staff and visitors.

“I expect we are going to have safe school year where our children are going to continue to grow and learn,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins said the district will have cleaning measures in place and she is encouraging people to get the vaccine if eligible and mask up.

On Friday, parent Allison Ostroy was out with her younger son shopping and getting ready for the school year. She agrees with Jenkins.

“A lot of K-95 masks, I have the children sizes for them,” said Ostroy.

In addition to the school supplies, she said there has been a lot of mental preparation for her and her children.

“Keeping them safe from germs and the virus and all those things. It's been a really big struggle I will be honest with you all summer, we did feel better at the back to the school nights, we went to a lot of the children are masked,” said Ostroy.

When it comes to learning, this year there is no LaunchEd virtual learning, but Jenkins said if someone does get sick they will have the ability to learn from home on the digital platform.

“Learn and see what the assignments are to be engaged, even in our classroom they are using our technology,” she said.