Improved COVID-19 infection control in overcrowded Hillsborough County schools

This petition is one of 175 petitions in the movement "Create and Enforce COVID Safety Protocols."Learn more about the movement.

Improved COVID-19 infection control in overcrowded Hillsborough County schools

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Daniel Foust started this petition to Addison Davis

Superintendent Davis and Hillsborough County School Board,

I recognize the enormity of the challenges you and school systems across the country are facing at this time, especially in regard to being thrust into the spotlight of what has rapidly erupted into a very political fight that has little to do with the actual education of our youth but I would like to urge you to prioritize the health and safety of the children whose parent's entrust you with their wellbeing and education. I know that there is usually shifting of students and teachers to address overcrowded classrooms, but after hearing from my 2nd grader that she has 26 children in her class and her friend who said he has 29 I feel the need to reach out to you preemptively. We are in the middle of a surge of COVID-19 that appears to be affecting children worse than it did last year and many of the county's children are being placed in overcrowded classrooms, by educational standards let alone COVID-19 standards. I would urge you to further consider a universal mask mandate, pushing back against Gov. DeSantis' order that threatens withholding state funds from counties that enact them. I recognize this may leave the school system in bad financial shape and so I have come up with a few other options for your consideration to help create an environment that is both fair and safe, where every child can get the education they deserve and the safety they need.

An important consideration in this discussion is the fact that surgical & cloth masks generally do not provide much protection to the individual wearing them, they are designed to limit the spread of disease outward from the person wearing them, thus I make the decision to have my child wear a mask not for her protection, but for the protection of her classmates and teachers, and in the hope that other parents will similarly value her safety. An optional mask mandate may respect the wishes of some parents to let their children be more comfortable, but it ignores the wishes of parents who would have their children wear masks for the good of the community and leaves the children who do wear masks at increased risk of COVID-19 infection, this is not fair to the children who tolerate masks for the good of their community as they are being asked to protect people who would voluntarily and intentionally not do the same for them. By allowing parents to opt out, you are leaving the choice that I would have made for my daughter's safety up to the other parents/children in her class instead of me.

That said, some alternatives I have come up with are as follows in no particular order.

1: As much as possible, cohort children whose parents opt them out of masks without a doctors orders into "unmasked" classes. Parents who do not believe masks are necessary should have no problem with this additional risk, and education on this risk should be provided on the form that parents sign to opt their children out of masks. As much as possible, have these classes taught by teachers who also do not want to wear masks, thus everyone in the room has consented to the increased risk.

2: Any class that is overcrowded by educational standards (not COVID standards) should have mandatory masks without an opt out option. Per the Florida Department of Education that is at the following ratios:

18 students in prekindergarten through grade 3

22 students in grades 4 through 8

25 students in grades 9 through 12.

This would at least mitigate risk in the highest risk, most crowded classrooms where transmission risks are higher.

3: Lottery out spots for children who's parents opt out of masks into either classes that aren't full at other schools or virtual school until the classrooms are at least not overcrowded by educational standards.

It is important to note that one-size-fit-all approaches are not the ideal way to do things, with that in mind there should absolutely be exceptions, I recognize that there are children with certain medical diagnoses and special needs for whom masks would be a detriment to their education and health, those children should not be subject to these additional infection control procedures in order to provide fair and equitable access to education and safety for all of our students.

Thank you in advance for you time and consideration,

Concerned Parents of Hillsborough County Public Schools

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!