Manatee school leaders tackle idea of separate masked, unmasked classrooms

Local News

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — Leaders with the Manatee County School District are considering putting masked and unmasked elementary school students in separate classrooms.

Elementary school parents were asked to fill out a survey regarding their feelings on the issue.

School board members are set to take up the issue during their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

Teachers and community members voiced their opinions about school mask mandates known in Florida’s capitol during a rally.

“There is no good reason to not have a mask mandate,” said Leon County parent and teacher Sara Marquez.

School leaders in districts throughout the state are facing pressure as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends students wear masks in school regardless of vaccination status.

“Putting a group of unvaccinated and unmasked people in a room is a potential super-spreader event.” said Isable Ruano, another Leon County parent.

Face coverings are optional in Manatee County classes. The district is considering separate rooms for masked and unmasked elementary students.

Multiple parents and grandparents in Manatee County tell 8 On Your Side they have strong thoughts about the idea.

Jessica Patterson says she’d like her daughter “to be in a classroom with all masks, It is not perfect.”

“It just seems to me that it is segregating kids more and more and causing more division this way,” said Katherine Morningstar, a Manatee County grandmother.,

Manatee County school board members are set to hear all viewpoints from parents during the public hearing portion of their meeting, Tuesday.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m., and the agenda can be found here.

Board members plan to vote on the proposed policy Friday during a special meeting.

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