CDC recommendation re-ignites mask debate in schools

The CDC announced Tuesday that they are recommending all students K-12 wear a mask in school regardless of their vaccination status. This is sparking debate at local school board meetings throughout Central Florida

"If you reimplement mask mandates, we will not be sending our students to school," said Michelle Manella. 

Passionate discussion filled the standing room only chamber of the Seminole County School Board meeting. Vigorous debate on both sides of the masking debate went on for hours. 

"Take actions and reasonable steps to protect students. COVID-19 is such a danger, a simple step is masking and reinstating social distancing," said one Seminole County resident. 

Masking is optional for Seminole County students this school year, although, the board does have the right to change that as it accesses the needs of the county. 

"This is a parent right and a parent issue," said Lou Marin outside of the Orange County School Board chambers. "This is not the government or the school say on this."

Orange County board members heard the same debate after the board voted in its last meeting to make masking optional. 

"With the highly transmittable Delta variant present in our community, it is wholly irresponsible to drop the mask mandate at this critical time," said Jennifer Hills. 

Orange County School Board’s policy does grant them the power to implement masking if the CDC or other government entities advise so. Some parents are pleading for the board to do so. 

"Listen to science. Listen to the facts. Protect our children," said Ryan Hayes. "How on Earth is it even a difficult decision?"

The superintendent of Orange County said at the end of the meeting that masks will remain optional at this time. As for Seminole County, the board said it was doing the same.