Some parents demand Hillsborough Schools make masks optional

Others say it’s still too soon.

​A group gathered outside the Hillsborough County School Board meeting on Tuesday to ask the district to make masks optional for the 2021-22 school year.

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They chanted “unmask the children" and waved signs as honking cars drove by.

Samantha Bonnanno has four children in Hillsborough schools. She says it’s about having a choice.

"Every child's situation is different. Some children may have a pre-existing condition or a health condition where a mask is warranted, and that's ok,” she said. “My children do not, so I don't think it's fair for them to have to have their oxygen limited or their face covered eight hours a day."

Others expressed concern about lifting the mask mandate too soon.

"Our young children can't be vaccinated yet. Teachers have young children at home, and students of all ages have younger brothers and sisters. So, I believe we need to continue to follow the guidelines to have masking in place until everyone has a chance to be vaccinated," Michelle Stover said.

With the new school year still three months away, school board members said they felt it was too early to make a decision — but they said the discussion will continue. They said they need to have guidance in place for parents by June or July.

Superintendent Addison Davis also announced he is recommending two learning options for the 2021-22 school year. Parents would have to choose between in-person learning and Hillsborough Virtual K-12 school.