Which Tampa Bay school districts are still requiring masks?


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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Many Tampa Bay school districts are still requiring masks after the governor’s order lifting all local COVID-19 restrictions.

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis turned heads with a controversial order that suspended all outstanding local COVID-19 emergency orders and related public health restrictions.

“The fact is, we are no longer in a state of emergency,” DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Petersburg, citing the nation’s decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Schools and private businesses can still require masks and enforce social distancing and other COVID-related restrictions.

A number of school districts issued clarification in statements Tuesday amid confusion over the order and how it would affect their mask policies. Most plan to stick with the current rules, at least until the end of the school year.

WFLA has been reaching out to schools in the area to learn if they’ve changed their mask policies. This story is being updated with their responses.

Hillsborough County

Masks are still required at public schools in Hillsborough County. The school district’s current mask policy will remain in effect through the end of the school year.

Pinellas County

Masks will be required until the end of the 2020-2021 school year. The Pinellas County school district said it plans to rescind its face mask policy on Wednesday, June 9.

Manatee County

According to a statement posted on Twitter, the current mask policy remains in effect.

“All School District students and employees will continue to be required to wear face masks and follow other district COVID-19 protocols until further notice.”

Polk County

The Polk County school district said it will continue requiring face masks at area schools.

“We are aware that Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order suspending local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates. This order does not apply to school districts,” school officials said on Facebook. “Polk County Public Schools will continue to require that students, staff members, and visitors wear face coverings on our campuses and in our office buildings for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. We will also continue to practice social distancing, frequent sanitation of our facilities, and all other COVID protocols that have been in place since the start of the school year.”

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