Petition calls for mask mandate in Hillsborough County schools

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Parents are calling for a mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to surge in Florida, two weeks before school starts.

A petition circulating online urges Superintendent Addison Davis and the Hillsborough County School Board to make masks mandatory in the classroom.

“COVID-19 cases are on the rise in what the head of the CDC has called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and our local hospitals are seeing the highest number of admitted COVID-19 patients to date, most of them unvaccinated,” the petition said. “With no vaccine currently available for our younger children and the continued spread of the highly transmissible delta variant, the risk to our children is now higher than it was last fall.”

Debra Stetzer, the petition’s creator said she fears students will be more susceptible to the delta variant when they return to the classroom. Her petition cites new evidence showing children who are infected may suffer through long-term symptoms.

Although the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise for everyone over the age of 2 to wear masks indoors, Governor Ron DeSantis has opposed the move. He argues that every parent should decide for themselves whether they want their kids wearing masks in school.

The governor recently threatened to call a special session to stop Florida schools from enacting mask mandates, but one school district is ignoring him. Broward County voted earlier this week to make masks mandatory in the fall.

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