By Spectrum News 9 staff | July 6, 2020
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — More than 150 Hillsborough County doctors plan to ask the school district to require face masks be worn when schools reopen.
A group of 162 pediatricians and physicians plan to present a letter in support of mandating face masks to the Superintendent and School Board during their meeting on Tuesday, July 7.
The doctors’ letter asks for the Superintendent and School Board to require face coverings in order to:
- Prevent spread of viral infection that will impact children, their families, and school employees;
- Reduce outbreaks to help keep schools closures from happening;
- Prevent unnecessary time off work for parents, staff and teachers; and
- Save health care resources for their pediatric practices, which will be responsible for testing and clearing students to return to school.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children wear face coverings as the highest-priority strategy to lessen the risk of returning children to physical in-person school. The group of Hillsborough doctors asks the District to follow the guidance of the AAP and require face coverings in order to accomplish the joint primary goal of the AAP, local doctors, and the District of having children physically present in school,” stated in the letter.
Right now, the district says “masks will be strongly recommended for students and staff,” but not required.
Hillsborough County Schools has offered three options for parents on how students will return to school: traditional school, e-learning from home, or moving in to the Florida virtual school program for home schooled students.
Parents have until Friday, July 10, to fill out a Declaration of Intent offering their opinion on how schools will reopen in the fall.