PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas County School District released its protocols and practices for this year and everything related to COVID has parents debating.
The district said in their release teachers and students can expect a more pre-pandemic atmosphere. That’s good news for parents like Silkia Rosario.
“I don’t have any concerns. I mean actually, we had COVID back in January and we all recovered and we’re all doing fine,” said Rosario.
Some of the modified practices include in-person instruction and extracurricular activities will resume as they did before. Vaccinated teachers and students are not required to quarantine if they come in contact with the virus unless they’re symptomatic. Those who are not vaccinated will have to quarantine for 10 days or until they get a negative test.
As for the hottest debate, masks in school will be optional.
“I think it being optional is a good thing because it gives the power to the parents whether they want to wear a mask or not. I don’t think everyone should have to wear it,” said Rosario.
However, not all parents are on board with this plan.
“I’m disappointed in our school system. Last year, everything was following the CDC guidelines. This year, my husband and I are both in medicine… he’s a physician and we’re scared,” said Erin Mahoney.
Her two older children are vaccinated, but it’s the younger ones she’s concerned about.
“They’re not eligible for the vaccine yet and with masks being optional,” said Mahoney. “We’re aware that masks protect other people if you’re not vaccinated, so if half of the class isn’t wearing masks then they’re not going to be safe.”
Anne Hathorn has three elementary school students and she feels the same way. She’s concerned about the health of her younger children, especially during this uptick in cases.
“Last year we were in a much better situation number wise and yet masks were still required.”
The Pinellas County School District said in their release that their modifications are based on medical advice and information. You can visit the school district’s website for a complete list of the updated protocols.