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Parents push for masks requirements to reach their end in SWFL schools

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Man have concerns for mask requirements in Southwest Florida schools during the pandemic, and many continue to voice them in front of administrators in a push to see students return to school without mandates for face coverings.

Parents in Lee County want their students to have the option to take their masks off, and it looks like that could happen next school year.

Superintendent Greg Adkins is recommending to make masks voluntary for next school year. That’s following the recommendation from Florida Department of Education.

That didn’t stop parents from speaking during public comment at the Lee County School Board meeting Tuesday about their concerns for students current required to wear masks in school.

Masks will be required in Lee County school buildings for the rest of the school year.

Several people voiced their objections to the District’s policy, but things could look different next school year.

In a memo to the board, Adkins is recommending masks become voluntary, but says they need to stay for the final weeks of the semester.

“I don’t like wearing masks either,” Adkins said. “I just think it’s prudent. We’ve been successful. We have graduation, testing coming up.”

The District also made a contractual agreement with the teachers unions to have masks in place for the rest of the school year.

“So teachers would come back to work at the height of the pandemic. We do understand there’s been some changes and we continue to evaluate those changes.”

That mask agreement with the teachers unions lasts until June 30.

The voluntary mask policy could go into effect as soon as July 1st.

The Collier County Public Schools superintendent did not respond to the demands of some parents to get rid of school mask mandates during a meeting Tuesday.

Superintendent Kamela Patton says the board will recommend voluntary masks in school beginning with the summer program.

Parents are still upset about students required to wear masks in Collier County schools. They say they don’t want their kids to wear masks for one more day.

Parents could be heard shouting during the meeting that became heated at times.

Fifty parents gathered before the meeting with signs that called masks muzzles, or saying it was a crime to mask kids.

Some people read anonymous teacher notes during public comment, saying there are more kids failing this year than ever before.

Many are also worried about anxiety and depression.

Parents say they won’t stop fighting for students to be free from masks at school.

The superintendent did say they will be recommending voluntary masks for the start of their summer programs.

The school board will discuss this during its meeting in June. Board members have not talked about making it voluntary for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.