LARGO, Fla. — With a 4-3 vote, The Pinellas County School Board decided not to hold a special meeting on a proposed 90-day mask mandate with only medical exemptions.
What You Need To Know
- Pinellas County School Board will not hold a special meeting on a 90-day mask mandate
- Parents on both sides of the issue spoke at Tuesday's meeting and protested outside
- Related Coverage | COVID in our schools: Tracking the number of cases and quarantines
The issue wasn't actually listed on Tuesday's meeting agenda, but parents on both sides of the issue gathered outside the school board headquarters to protest.
“If you want to send your kids to school with a mask, by all means thats perfectly fine. But don’t require my children to be masked all day,” said Candice Morris, a Pinellas County mom.
Another mother disagreed.
“I have been an advocate for Pinellas County Schools for the past 13 years. I would like to remain one. But if they can’t keep my children safe, I don’t know if I can continue to partner with them,” Tammy Kaplan said.
Inside, 99 parents, educators and doctors voiced their opinions on whether or not to require masks in schools as COVID-19 cases continue to climb both in the classroom and in the community. topic.
The motion to hold a special meeting was put forward by School board member Caprice Edmond.
The Pinellas Safe Schools Coalition held a rally Tuesday morning ahead of the meeting, attempting to pressure the school board to adopt a mask mandate. The group also held a press conference Monday morning outside the district’s administrative building.
“It is most effective if all of us do it for a short time until this crisis has passed,” said Reverend Emily Hotho, who has children in the district. “If you, our school board leaders, will do this, I know I will interpret it not as a giving up of freedoms but as a choosing as empathy.”
The Coalition said now that other school districts across the state, including Hillsborough County, have implemented mask mandates, they know it’s possible despite the governor’s executive order banning them and the state threatening to cut funding to districts that defy it.
WATCH TUEDAY'S MEETING: