HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County School leaders have extended the district's current mask mandate for another 30 days. The mandate now expires on Oct. 15.
The school board held a meeting Thursday to discuss an extension. The Board allows for a medical exemption opt-out of the mask mandate.
Last month, Hillsborough County School leaders voted to enact a more restrictive mask mandate for students, teachers, and staff for 30 days.
The school board’s decision to enact a mask mandate came after thousands of students were put into quarantine or isolation due to contracting COVID-19 or being exposed to the virus.
Before the decision, the school board was presented with evidence that suggests the mask mandate is helping to keep positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines lower in schools:
- August 18 – Mask mandate instituted. 10,722 student/staff impacted by positive case or quarantine;
- August 20 – Greatest number of students and staff impacted. 13,485 student/staff impacted by positive case or quarantine;
- September 8 – 5,647 students/staff impacted - a 58% decrease from August 20.
"The district will continue following other mitigation strategies on campus that are recommended by the CDC including having hand sanitizer in all buildings and encouraging hand washing throughout the day. The district will also work with our health partners to provide opportunities for vaccination clinics," the school board said.
Since August 2, there have been 8,733 reported COVID-19 cases in the school district.