Frequently Asked Questions
At an Emergency School Board meeting held August 18, 2021, the School Board of Hillsborough County approved a motion to require mandatory face coverings for all students and staff for a period of 30 days.
At its regularly scheduled Board meeting on September 9, 2021, the School Board of Hillsborough County voted to extend the mask mandate for an additional 30 days. At this point, the mask mandate runs through October 15, 2021.
To help better understand the district’s decisions and what it means for individuals, below are Frequently Asked Questions that will be updated as guidance from local, state, and federal agencies becomes available.
1. Why is Hillsborough County Public Schools requiring a face covering at this time?
Our district began the school year by mandating masks with a parental opt out in accordance with Emergency Rule 64DER21-12 titled Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings. However, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines in our schools and increasing positivity in Hillsborough County, on August 18th at a Special Called Board Meeting, the School Board voted to mandate masks for all students and staff with a medical exemption opt out for 30 days. At its September meeting, the Board voted to extend that mask mandate an additional 30 days.
2. When does the 30 day mask mandate end?
The 30-day mask mandate began Thursday, August 19, 2021 and will end Friday, September 17. It was extended an additional 30 days and will now end October 15.
3. What happens after the 30-day mask mandate ends?
At the end of the mask mandate, the School Board will reassess the COVID-19 cases and quarantines in our school and through guidance with our public health partners, determine whether the mask mandate should be extended or simply default back to the mandatory mask requirement with parental opt out.
4. Why is there no parental opt out form?
Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines in our schools and increasing positivity in Hillsborough County, and in in order to try and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the school board voted to eliminate the parental opt out form. Our district will allow for a medical exemption opt out from a doctor.
5. Who does HCPS confer with regarding the impact of COVID-19 in the community?
HCPS has partnered with TGH/USF Health and the Department of Health- Hillsborough since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. We will continue to work with our health partners to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community to make further decisions.
6. How will the face mask mandate be enforced?
We ask that students arrive to school wearing their face coverings. If they do not have a mask, the school will provide one for them. If the student is not wearing the mask during the day, the school will contact a parent or guardian.
7. Will employees be required to wear a face covering/mask?
Under the mask mandate, all employees are required to wear a face covering/mask.
8. If a student or employee is fully vaccinated, do they still need to wear a face covering?
The CDC indicates/advises fully vaccinated people can still be carriers of COVID-19 and can still contract the virus, despite the symptoms typically being less severe than those of an unvaccinated person. Our district will still require all vaccinated students and employees to wear a mask until October 15.
9. Will visitors, parents, and volunteers be required to wear a face covering/mask when on campus?
Visitors, parents, and volunteers are not permitted on school campuses for the first 30 days of school. However, all adults are required to wear a face mask while at school.
10. Will face coverings/masks be required at sports events and other school sponsored events on district properties?
All indoor athletic events will adhere to the mask mandate. All non-participating athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators must wear a mask at indoor sporting events. No spectator will be admitted without a face covering. Outdoor events, such as football, do not have mask mandates.
11. What are the quarantine procedures for a student with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
Per the Florida Department of Health, the confirmed positive student will be required to isolate as per below:
Until the student receives a negative diagnostic COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic; OR
10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms or positive test result (if asymptomatic), the student has had no fever for 24 hours and the student’s other symptoms are improving; OR
The student receives written permission to return to school from a licensed medical professional.
12. What are the quarantine procedures for a student who came in close contact of a positive COVID-19 case?
Per the Florida Department of Health, the close contact of a confirmed positive case will be required to quarantine for the length noted below:
Students will be quarantined for 7 days if they remain symptom free and can return to school on day 8; OR
Student will be quarantined for 4 days if a diagnostic test taken on day 5 is negative and if they remain symptom free. Student can return to school on day 5 after they receive negative diagnostic test results; OR
Students who are vaccinated or who have tested positive in the last 90 days do not need to quarantine;
Students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student where both students were wearing face coverings will be excluded from quarantine.