Maskless Hillsborough schools superintendent spotted at Bucs Super Bowl party, despite asking students and staff to avoid large gatherings

Do as I say, not as I do, I guess.

click to enlarge Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis (R) during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers championship celebration at Port of Tampa on Feb. 10, 2021. - Nicole Abbett
Nicole Abbett
Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis (R) during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers championship celebration at Port of Tampa on Feb. 10, 2021.

Hillsborough County’s superintendent of schools is under scrutiny after being spotted maskless at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers championship celebration on Wednesday.

“Five days after sending an email to all school staff telling them to avoid large gatherings, Hillsborough County Public Schools superintendent Addison Davis turns up in the middle of the Bucs' party, maskless,” Timothy Burke—a Tampa-based video archivist and media consultant—wrote in a Twitter post. “HCPS is the seventh largest school district in the country.”

The accompanying screengrab from a WFLA broadcast shows Davis in a red tie maskless, mouth ajar and just a few feet from Tom Brady and standing shoulder to shoulder with a crowd of people.

In that Feb. 5 email to staff ahead of Super Bowl weekend, Davis asked “Team Hillsborough” to “remain safe by continuing to practice social distancing, wear free face coverings when necessary, and avoid large gatherings when possible.”

Davis was also feeling pretty confident about the Bucs’ chances against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“While we plan for the Buccaneers to be victorious on Sunday evening...” Addison wrote. “I need everyone’s assistance ensuring that our students win on Monday, February 8th.”

Davis wrote that one thing the district has learned during the pandemic is that many of its students need consistency with access to teachers, support staff, leaders and their peers, adding “The ability for each of us to be this constant in their lives as part of the Hillsborough County Public School System is what sets us apart from so many others."

The superintendent went on to say he was looking forward to celebrating with his team on Monday, but all bets were apparently off if you got a chance to go to the Bucs championship celebrations at the Port of Tampa and Sparkman Wharf.

In a statement emailed to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Davis wrote “Along with several other local leaders, I attended the championship presentation at the port to celebrate our partners, the Buccaneers, and their historic win. I wore my mask throughout the event, only taking it off briefly for a few photos and then putting it back on for the remainder of the time I was in attendance. As I said in my email to employees and families last week, we should always follow CDC guidelines to stay healthy and safe, and that includes me. In hindsight, I should have kept my mask on for the entire celebration."

Davis also sent a batch of photos to help prove his point, but CL sent a short round of follow ups below and will update this post with any new comments.

  • Didn't his Feb. 5 email also ask staff to avoid large gatherings if possible? Doesn't this go against that advice?
  • Are there any plans for Davis to quarantine?
  • I get that he's a local leader, but how did he end up there and who invited him? What's his role at the championship party?
  • Was there anyone else from the county school system admin there?

UPDATED: 02/11/21 2 p.m. Updated with new photo of Davis at the partay and comment from the superintendent. 

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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