Hillsborough County Schools says for now masks are optional, but the district will re-evaluate cases and the policy in a few weeks from now.By Casey Albritton

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Parents are frustrated with the mask policies in school districts and across the state.

Jacqueline Shanklin is a parent with Hillsborough County Schools…and has some worries about this mask policy this school year.

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“It’s a piece of material that it seems like they are politicizing. You’re taking a certain stance or a certain message by not wearing a mask. It’s a piece of cloth that could save your lives and other people’s lives,” said Shanklin.

Damaris Bridges is also a parent in Hillsborough County Schools and has similar concerns.

“We know that masks work so I don’t understand this push against masks,” said Bridges.

Both Shanklin and Bridges say they are worried about their kids going back to school when masks are not required in both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. This comes after Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last week saying districts cannot decide for parents whether or not students should wear masks.

With COVID-19 and the Delta, it’s very nerve-racking because you can’t rely on everyone to do what’s right,” said Shanklin.

Bridges says she’s not only concerned about the health of her tenth grade son and her family, but she’s also worried about the social impacts of the mask policy.

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“I’m also worried about kids being bullied for wearing masks or not wearing masks. I think that is going to go both ways,” said Bridges.

The governor re-iterated his stance at a press conference on Thursday.

“Parents have the fundamental right to raise their children, their health their well-being and that has to be respected,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

Pinellas County parent, Michelle Stille, agrees.

“We choose not to wear masks and we respect other people’s choices to wear them or not wear them and that’s a choice we feel like should not be made by the government,” said Stille.

She says wearing masks last year was stressful for her children, so allowing parents to make the decision she believes is the best option.

“While their speech is developing and they are learning to read, it’s important for them to see their teacher’s face and their classmates, so they can learn how to speak when they are little and how to read when they are a little bit older. Even my son in high school said the worst thing about the mask was not being able to see people’s faces,” said Stille.

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Hillsborough County Schools says for now masks are optional, but the district will re-evaluate cases and the policy in a few weeks from now.