Hillsborough teachers concerned students may opt-out of wearing face masks


HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sonya Hanks has been a teacher at her middle school in Hillsborough County for six years and is looking forward to students returning.

“I like the administration that we have, I like the teachers that we teach with and I love the students,” said Hanks.

Students return to classrooms in Hillsborough County in less than two weeks. Hanks recently became concerned when she discovered a form that is being circulated that appears to allow parents to opt-out of having their children wear face masks when they return to class.

“There will be no social distancing, the only protection that we have are basically masks and now we are being told there is a mask waiver out there which has instilled some fear in teachers,” said Hanks.

Kurt Thoreson is a high school teacher in Hillsborough County and has seen the same form being sent around.

Thoreson is part of the team working to make sure his school is safe when students return to class.

“I just want to go about making my room as safe as possible and if that involves wearing a mask, if that involves social distancing, I want to try to do that as best as I can,” said Thoreson.

He’s concerned many students will opt out of wearing a mask if they are given the chance.

“This just seems like it could all be undone if students and families have the knowledge if I don’t want to wear a mask, I don’t have to wear a mask,” said Thoreson.

The Hillsborough County School district released the final form on Tuesday evening and parents can view and fill it out here.


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