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Pinellas Parent Group Pleads For Mandatory Masks Ahead Of School Board Meeting

Daylina Miller

Pinellas Safe Schools is asking for mandatory masks for all students and school employees for 60 days, plus more timely quarantine notifications.

A group of parents is urging the Pinellas County School Board to require masks in schools ahead of its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

Pinellas Safe Schools says anti-mask parents are dominating school board meetings but claim most parents want masks. They want the county to mandate masks for all students and staff for the next 60 days.

The group is also pushing for more timely quarantine notifications.

Chrissy Krampert, an immunocompromised parent, said there's more than enough evidence that masks are safe and effective.

"We can't let the fear get ahead of the science. And so we need to follow the people who are put on this earth to take care of us. They have studied, they have practiced, they have done everything to make sure that they are providing us with the information to keep us safe,” Krampert said.

She said what happens in schools is a microcosm of what happens elsewhere.

"Pinellas County Schools is the county's largest employer. What happens in our hallways happens in our community. And so if we want to make sure that the outbreak doesn't get worse, we have to take action now," she said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in July that requires districts to allow parents to make the decision on whether their children wear masks in schools. The Board of Education and Department of Health have enacted rules to enforce the order and threatened noncompliant districts with financial sanctions.

Several districts across the state have defied the order and are requiring masks with only medical exemptions. Two lawsuits against the state — including one in federal court — claim DeSantis' executive order is unconstitutional.

Health officials reported Friday that more than 3 million Floridians have tested positive for coronavirus.

For the week ending on Thursday last week, the state reported an additional 150,118 cases of the coronavirus — the second highest weekly total yet.

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Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.