Students, staff and visitors will no longer have to wear masks at properties or activities in the Hillsborough County School District, starting Monday.
Citing a decrease in coronavirus cases across the county and changing the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, the district announced on Friday that it would join other school systems in the region to drop mask mandates. The Pasco District ended its requirement a week ago and the Pinellas School Board is expected to rescind its rule on Tuesday.
At the same time, the Hillsborough District has said it will no longer provide live distance education, which many call eLearning. Proposed last year to allow children to learn at home during the pandemic, the model falls out of favor for the upcoming school year, with the state ending its funding for the process.
“It is time for students to receive accelerated instruction in front of high quality educators while also having full access to mental health supports in our schools,” Superintendent Addison Davis said in a press release.
Students will be able to take classes at traditional schools in person or continue to take classes online through Hillsborough Virtual K-12. Families can apply for the virtual program at http://bitly.com/HVK12APPLY.
Officials said the widespread availability of vaccines played into their decision. They encouraged parents and children 12 and older to receive the inoculation.
“Vaccination has been shown to be very effective in preventing infection, allowing for more flexible mitigation efforts that were needed over the past year,” said local health department director Dr Douglas Holt. , in a published press release.