UPDATE: The Hillsborough County School Board has voted to extend the district’s mask mandate for 30 days until Oct. 15.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Members of the Hillsborough County School Board are expected to discuss extending the district’s mask mandate during their meeting Thursday afternoon.
Last month, the board voted 5-2 to mandate masks for all students and staff amid rising COVID-19 cases among students and staff, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in schools.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled last month that local school boards can impose mask mandates to curb the spread of COVID-19. On Wednesday, Cooper said schools can keep their mask mandates in place while the state appeals the decision.
According to data from the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, the number of students and staff in isolation or quarantine has dropped more than 50% since the board approved the face covering requirement.
Jackie Ungureit, a mother in Hillsborough County opted to home-school her children before the face covering requirement was approved. She says the situation isn’t ideal, but it was their best option.
“Nobody wants to be taught by their mom, they don’t listen as it is, they’re happier when they’re at school,” Ungureit said. “The COVID numbers were going up so exponentially that I was like I don’t feel safe with you there.”
Ungureit told 8 On Your Side she hopes the requirement stays in place.
“The impact is there, so regardless if you believe in the mask or not, the data we have doesn’t lie,” she said.