Students returning to public schools in Pasco and Hillsborough counties will not be required to wear masks.
Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning took a moment at the school board’s July 6 meeting to reiterate the Pasco district’s position.
“I’ve been getting a number of emails from folks, across the district, that I guess are still concerned that I’m going to have staff and students in masks.
“I am not going to have students in masks, come the beginning of the school year.
“I think it’s been patently clear by this district that masks would be optional starting in August.
“I think it’s even more clear with the remarks made by our governor that there would be no masks in school. So, they’ve removed that decision from local school districts,” Browning said.
“So, I just want to make it abundantly clear that we will not have masks required in Pasco schools.
“We will, however, continue to monitor COVID and COVID data, with the Delta variant that’s out there,” Browning added.
Hillsborough County public schools also has announced that it would drop the mask mandate.
Gov. Ron DeSantis told the Florida Board of Education at its June 10 meeting that most of the state’s school districts had already decided that “kids should be able to go to school normally, they should not be forced to wear masks.
“I think that that’s important that we do that statewide,” he said.
However, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, updated on July 9, for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools says: “Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated.”
The guidance continues: “Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
The CDC “recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully reopen while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking.”
Published July 14, 2021