LARGO, Fla. — Right now, all students and staff on Pinellas County School campuses must wear masks.

However, there’s a group of parents who don’t believe their children should be forced to wear masks at school and they want School Board members to end the emergency mask mandate once and for all.

That mandate is set to expire on November 9 if board members don’t extend it, which another group of parents says must happen to keep students and staff safe and healthy.

What You Need To Know

“One of my main concerns is the safety and health of our teachers and our staff. The average daily and weekly percentages are going up in our district. There are more big events going on now that the state is open, and we want to make sure our district stays safe and is utilizing those medical standards,” said Christie Bruner, a Pinellas County parent. 

Bruner launched the “Pinellas Parents for Healthy School” Facebook group page long before the pandemic, and while its main mission isn’t to promote mask wearing, she said masks have become a hot topic among group members.

Bruner said many parents and teachers she’s spoken with appreciate the extra layer of protection, and say the district should abide by medical experts advice and extend the mask mandate.

On the other side of the issue is a group of parents who do not want the mandate extended. They formed their own group on Facebook, “Parent Advocates for Students Health Freedom.”

Members of the group declined to do an interview with Spectrum Bay News 9, but did send a YouTube video they put together. The video is about 40 minutes long filled with testimony from Pinellas parents on their children’s negative experiences with masks.

The Pinellas County School Board will likely take up the emergency mask mandate at their November 10 meeting.