Mandatory mask rule sparks debate

The Florida Parent Teacher Association recently surveyed parents to see if masks should be mandatory or optional in school.

“I would feel very comfortable sending my kids to school without masks,” said advanced practice registered nurse practitioner Laura Burgess, who has a student at West Shore. “I think masks should be optional because we have a right to exercise our freedom of choice.”

Burgess said she believes masks are not the only things helping prevent COVID-19.

“I think that good hand-washing and staying home when one feels sick and social distancing is enough to curve the viral spread,” Burgess said. “I also believe in herd immunity. If the young people end up falling [ill] with COVID-19, then the majority of the population will be immune to the disease and its effects and the spread will minimize.”

The result of the survey could affect the ratio of e-learners to in-person learners. 

“I definitely would be very hesitant to go to school if no one was wearing a mask,” sophomore Audrey Dohman said. “I do not know where they go on the weekends, so there is a chance they could have COVID-19 and then come to school and spread it to everyone.”

If the survey were to favor optional masks, the mandatory mask rule could be overturned by the state Department of Education.

“If no one was wearing a mask, I definitely would still be wearing one at school because I would want to protect myself,” Dohman said.

By Lauren Mannix