Anti-mask Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to updated CDC school guidelines

click to enlarge Gov. DeSantis still thinks masking in schools should be an individual decision. - Photo via Ron DeSantis/Twitter
Photo via Ron DeSantis/Twitter
Gov. DeSantis still thinks masking in schools should be an individual decision.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been clear that he doesn't want mandatory mask policies in Florida public schools. He's not backing off that position, even now that the CDC has updated their guidelines to encourage in-school masking.

In their new COVID-19-combating recommendations, the federal agency urged vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. When it came to school, they said that non-vaccinated people above the age of 2 should wear masks indoors. As this includes almost all children, it amounted to a blanket call for masking in schools.

"Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated," they wrote. "Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained."

DeSantis refused to back away from his previous statements on the matter, leaving the idea of masking up to individual schools and parents.

"Governor DeSantis believes that parents know what’s best for their children; therefore, parents in Florida are empowered to make their own choices with regards to masking," his office shared in a statement.

"Experts have raised legitimate concerns that the risks of masking outweigh the potential benefits for children, because masking children can negatively impact their learning, speech, emotional and social development, and physical health (e.g., infections from bacteria that’s often found on masks, difficulty breathing while exercising in masks, etc.) Fortunately, the data indicate that COVID is not a serious risk to healthy children, which is why schools in most countries were among the first institutions to reopen. At the end of the day, the Governor trusts parents to weigh the risks and benefits and make the best choices for their kids.”

Florida is in the midst of a massive spike in coronavirus cases, largely attributed to the delta variant of the virus and the state's lax policies around COVID-19. DeSantis and the state legislature effectively kneecapped local government's ability to mandate coronavirus restrictions via a new law and executive order put forth earlier this year.

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