MANATAEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – For the third time in just one week, Florida has broken its record for new, daily COVID-19 cases.

On Friday, the state reported nearly 24,000 cases to the CDC. That’s 20% of the nation’s total for that day. Florida still accounts for one in five new cases around the country.

It also marks seventeen days in a row Florida has seen more than 10,000 new cases, and as students return to the classroom this week the dominant delta variant has some parents worried about the safety of their kids.

What to do about masks in schools has been left up in the air the past few weeks as the debate over kids wearing masks played out on the political stage, but with school starting Tuesday, the time is now for school leaders to make a decision.

While Hillsborough County is one of the first districts to finalize their mask and COVID plan for the school year, Manatee County will meet and decide Monday. The district sent out surveys to parents a few weeks ago.

The results are in, and school leaders say that and the recommendations from the CDC and health department will help shape their decision. For a while now, parents were left without a clue on what to do on day one.

“It’s very important I don’t want him to get sick, people are passing away from, so that’s a very big concern. There’s no age limit on this illness and who it takes out,” said Jasmine Nunez, a parent in Manatee County.

The topic of having kids wear masks again in the classroom became taboo as politicians fight over whether it was a right for freedom or right to save children’s lives.

Gov. Ron DeSantis passed an executive order stopping schools from passing mask mandates, some districts rebelled passing them anyway, and now other districts are trying to find loopholes or gray area. Many school leaders want to protect children but not lose funding from the state for doing so.

“Masks are not required in schools so whereas I would send my child with one somebody else may not. I don’t feel comfortable sending her to school full time for that reason,” said Nicki Dillahay, another Manatee County parent.

The special meeting will begin at Monday morning at 10 a.m.



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