Despite Hillsborough County's COVID positivity rate hitting an all-time high, many families and students are demanding that masks stay optional for the coming school year.
What’s happening: Public testimony at the county's school board meeting on Tuesday was largely dominated by people opposed to a mask mandate, even though no mask decision was on the agenda.
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And on the other side of the state, anti-mask protesters also disrupted Broward County's school board meeting — stopping a discussion about masks in schools, per the Miami Herald.
State of play: Right now, around Tampa Bay, masks are optional in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Manatee County schools.
As of Monday, Manatee County Schools had planned to return in August with "normal pre-COVID conditions," per the Bradenton Herald.
The big picture: The CDC amended its guidance yesterday to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools this incoming school year, regardless of vaccination status.
The other side: Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have repeatedly voiced their opposition to masks in classrooms.
In a closed-door meeting on Monday, DeSantis said there was "no evidence" linking a lack of masking in schools to COVID outbreaks, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Last week, DeSantis also suggested he would call a special legislative session if the federal government mandated masks and school districts followed.
In April, Corcoran sent a memo to school superintendents asking them to make masks optional for the 2021-22 school year.
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