TALLAHASSEE, FL – With COVID-19 delta variant cases on the rise among the unvaccinated population of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a controversial executive order that bans the federal government from implementing a mandatory face mask rule for students.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 21-175, in response to several Florida school boards considering or implementing mask mandates in their schools after the Biden Administration issued unscientific and inconsistent recommendations that school-aged children wear masks,” the state said in a press release. “The Florida Department of Health will enter rulemaking in collaboration with the Florida Department of Education to protect parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks.”
“Last summer, at my direction, Florida’s Department of Education ordered schools to be open for in-person instruction for five days per week to ensure the continued well-being of students and families,” D Santis said. “schools – including those that did not require students to be masked – did not drive community transmission of COVID-19.”
The Governor said despite recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, forcing students to wear masks lacks a well-grounded scientific justification; indeed, a Brown University study analyzed COVID-19 data for schools in Florida and found no correlation with mask mandates; and masking children may lead to negative health and societal ramifications.
“Forcing children to wear masks could inhibit breathing, lead to the collection of dangerous impurities including bacteria, parasites, fungi, and other contaminants, and adversely affect communications in the classroom and student performance,” DeSantis said. “There is no statistically significant evidence to suggest that counties with mask requirements have fared any better than those without mask requirements during the 2020-2021 school year.”
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