Petition signed by hundreds of doctors calling for mask mandate in Lee County Schools

Posted at 9:44 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 21:44:48-04

LEE COUNTY — Hundreds of doctors in Lee County are calling on the School Board to mandate masks in school.

Dr. Parisima Taeb in Fort Myers started a petition collecting signatures after her own daughter was exposed to COVID-19.

Dr. Taeb said she didn’t find out her daughter was exposed from the School District or the Health Department. She found out from other parents.

She believes cases are spreading so fast, parents aren’t being notified, and she said the only way to slow that spread is to mandate masks.

Dr. Taeb said her daughter is now isolating at home, but she’s tried to inform other parents, because no one else is.

“We did not get any notification from the District, from the Department of Health," said Dr. Taeb.

We reached out to the Department of Health. It said right now there are 35 contact tracers in Lee County. The School District has more than 95,000 students.

Dr. Taeb said there’s no way that staff could keep up with the flood of COVID-19 cases right now.

“There are kids, there are school staff members, and there are teachers who in double-digit numbers are being quarantined every day," said Dr. Taeb.

That’s backed up by a letter sent from the Teacher's Association of Lee County (TALC) to the Superintendent Friday, claiming there are schools where more than 20 teachers are currently quarantining.

Dr. Taeb said the only way to slow the spread is to mandate masks, so she started the online petition.

“There is about, more than 230 physicians in the County who have signed the letter that was sent yesterday evening," said Dr. Taeb.

Dr. Taeb said she plans to deliver that letter to the School Board by Wednesday. She said, if the District wants to protect kids and staff, masks are the only option.

“Before anything bad happens to any kid in our District and in our community, I’m hoping they make the moral decision and make the right decision and mandate masks," said Dr. Taeb.

Mandating masks would violate the Governor’s Executive Order, and could cause the Department of Education to fine the District.

We asked the School District for an updated total number of students and staff currently quarantining, and we are still waiting for those numbers.