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Education

Pinellas County School Board Members Will Consider A Mask Mandate

girl wearing a mask in school
Pasco County Schools
Thirteen Florida school districts have issued mask mandates without a parental opt-out, defying a governor's executive order and state rules created to enforce it.

One board member will propose a district mask mandate with only a medical opt-out available at Tuesday afternoon’s board meeting.

As the debate over mask mandates in Florida schools works through the legal system, Pinellas County will be considering the issue again to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

Masks are currently optional for students in Pinellas. But school board member Caprice Edmond announced on Facebook that she will propose a mandate with only a medical opt-out at the school board meeting Tuesday.

Her colleague, Laura Hine, also announced her support for a district mandate in a recent editorial in the Tampa Bay Times.

“Our trusted medical professionals overwhelmingly advise that when our community is experiencing high spread, the required wearing of masks in our schools is the right action to take,” Hine wrote.

Chrissy Krampert leads the Pinellas Safe Schools Coalition, a group of parents who support a mandate. She said she's worried the measure won’t pass, since the board previously failed to support a similar proposal.

"I am very nervous that our school board has not changed their mind and continues to play politics with the health and education of our students."

Krampert wants the school system to create better quarantine notifications, and for all students and staff to be wearing masks.

"It seems nonsensical that the Pinellas County School Board continues to ignore what is working so well to keep more classrooms open in other districts," she said. "Pinellas County isn't special in that regard. We should be following what our health care providers, what our medical experts have been asking us to do from day one."

Thirteen Florida school districts have issued mask mandates without a parental opt-out, defying a governor's executive order and state rules created to enforce it. Several lawsuits over the issue are winding through state and federal courts.

If the Pinellas board fails to pass the proposal, Edmond said she will request a special meeting to discuss a mask mandate.

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