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Parents continue to request masks be optional at St. Johns County Schools

The St. Johns County school superintendent says masks mandate will continue until June 14.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Many parents want St. Johns County to make face masks at school optional. 

"I certainly believe masks work. I'm in medicine," Kimberly Pacetti, a family nurse practitioner, said. "I just don't believe masks on children work."

Pacetti has two children in public St. Johns County schools and has seen what her 6-year-old and 9-year-old children do with masks. 

"They take the masks off. Smear it against the wall. They turn a doorknob with it," Pacetti said. "It's gross. We're not helping these children anymore. They're not properly using masks."

She started an online petition asking the St. Johns County School District to make masks optional.

Even though the number of people signing the petition has slowed down in the last few days, the number of parents supporting that idea is growing, especially as vaccinations increase.

"I was like the first person to be wearing a mask at Publix," Jennifer Lovelace said. She has a child in the St. Johns Public School system too. 

Lovelace said it's time for masks to no longer be mandatory at public schools.

The St. Johns County School Superintendent Tim Forson sent a letter out Friday evening. It said starting June 14, masks will be optional and desk shields will not be mandatory.

"June 14, that's six weeks away," Lovelace said. "We could just do it now, but I'm just happy they at least answered the question."

While some parents have talked about sending children to school without masks as a way to make a statement, both of these moms say their little ones will still wear masks if told to.

"I have a tough time teaching my children to disobey their teachers," Pacetti said. "I don't think that's right. .If their teacher says, 'Put your masks on,' they're going to obey."