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Pinellas School Board Again Decides To Not Consider Student Mask Mandate

School board member speaks into a microphone
Pinellas County School Board
Board member Caprice Edmond proposed a district mask mandate at Tuesday night's meeting.

A proposal from board member Caprice Edmond did not receive a second, meaning no discussion or vote on the issue took place. Masks will remain optional for students.

The Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday declined again to consider a district mask mandate to protect against the coronavirus.

Masks will remain optional for students.

A proposal from board member Caprice Edmond failed to get a second, meaning no discussion or vote on the issue took place. Edmond responded by requesting a special meeting on COVID-19 mitigation, including air purification and face masks.

Board member Laura Hine echoed support for a special meeting.

"It's an opportunity, I think, also to hear from staff about how things are actually going, to formally hear from health experts, to formally hear from our community who we've heard from thousands of people,” she said. “But I know we've also asked this question several, several different times."

A discussion on COVID-19 safety issues will be added into the board's workshop on Sept. 21.

On Aug. 24, the board voted to not hold a special meeting on a proposed 90-day mandate with only medical exemptions.

Across Florida, 13 school districts have issued mask mandates without a parental opt-out, defying a governor's executive order and state rules created to enforce it. The executive order calls for parents to make the decision of whether their children wear masks in school.

Multiple lawsuits challenging the executive order are making their way through state and federal courts.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.