Masks in class: Hillsborough parents, students at odds over school district’s policy


HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Passionate parents throughout Hillsborough County are weighing in on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation regarding masks in schools.

Leaders with the CDC suggest K-12 students wear face coverings in class, regardless of vaccination status.

Parents with signs lined up outside the Hillsborough County School Board’s meeting, Tuesday while parents inside argued over the district’s mask policy.

As of Wednesday morning, face masks are optional for students during the 2021-22 school year.

“We’ve recently seen the American Academy of Pediatrics make a public statement that regardless of vaccination status, all returning students should be wearing masks,” one parent said.

“They get dropped on the floor, they get stepped on, they get chewed on, they get sweaty, they get lost—this is bound to happen, they are kids. The CDC does not specialize in child development,” another added.

According to CDC data, Florida is recording an average of 12,500 cases each day. The positivity rate in Hillsborough County was 18.1% on Friday.

The numbers have some students worried.

“Children are going to get sick and, teachers are going to get sick and parents are going to get sick — which evident because the Delta variant is so very transmissible,” 8th grader Hope Brillhart told 8 On Your Side.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is strong in his opposition to mandatory mask policies in schools.

“The Governor has indicated that the state legislature would have a special session to ensure that masks would be optional next school year,” Office of the Governor press secretary Christina Pushaw said in an email. “He supports every parent’s right to decide what’s best for their own kids.”

The first day of classes in Hillsborough County is Aug. 10.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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