Story at a glance

  • As of Monday, 5,599 students and 316 employees in Hillsborough County Public Schools were in isolation or quarantine.
  • The figures include students and staff who either tested positive for COVID-19 or came in close contact with someone who did.
  • The school board is holding an emergency Wednesday to discuss a possible mask mandate.

A school district in Florida is considering implementing a mask mandate as more than 5,500 students and hundreds of staff are in isolation or quarantine due to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Officials with the Hillsborough County School Board on Monday announced they will be holding a special emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory face coverings for students and staff. 

As of Monday, 5,599 students and 316 employees in Hillsborough County Public Schools were in isolation or quarantine. The figures include students and staff who either tested positive for COVID-19 or came in close contact with someone who did. 

The Tampa Bay Times reports the district’s case count stands at 731. 

Currently in Florida, parents are allowed to opt their children out of wearing face coverings after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) issued an order prohibiting schools in the state from implementing mandates. The governor argued it should be up to parents to decide whether their children should wear masks. 


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Several school districts in the state, however, have defied the order, voting in favor of instituting mask mandates for students, teachers and staff. 

The Broward County School Board last week voted to keep its mask mandate, garnering the praise of President Biden. The president applauded the district’s interim superintendent’s “leadership and courage to do the right thing.”

Florida’s largest school district is also poised to require masks when kids head back to the classroom next week. The Miami-Dade County School Board is expected to approve a mandate following recommendations from a task force of experts. 


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Published on Aug 17, 2021