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Masks on or off? Hillsborough County schools ask for parents' input

The CDC currently recommends universal mask use in a school setting.
Credit: Provided

TAMPA, Fla — Parents have less than a week to help leaders at Hillsborough County Public Schools decide what should be done about masks during the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

The district set up a survey link to gauge families' comfort levels for face coverings at school. 

Masks remain a requirement districtwide through the end of the current school year in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 among students, teachers and staff. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's current guidelines indicate that it remains critical for schools "use and layer prevention strategies," which include the universal wearing of masks as they provide a barrier from virus particles reaching another person. 

"Require consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks with proper filtration by all students, teachers, and staff to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission through respiratory droplets," reads the CDC's guidelines. "Masks should be worn at all times, by all people in school facilities, with certain exceptions for certain people, or for certain settings or activities, such as while eating or drinking."

Florida and much of the U.S. as a whole are on a good track in reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases, according to CDC data. With Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine just recently receiving FDA emergency use authorization for ages 12-15, health experts say they are optimistic the next many weeks and months could bring the pandemic under control.

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