“In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) during a press conference addressing mask mandates in K-12 schools.
Amid the CDC’s renewed push for mask mandates, DeSantis revealed on Friday he is ready to sign an executive order allowing parents the choice of whether they will require their children to wear face masks at school or not.
Florida’s Republican governor made the announcement in Cape Coral at an Italian restaurant where parents of school-age children also spoke regarding their opposition to school mask mandates.
“Floridians have been, are, and will remain free to choose what’s best for themselves and their families,” the governor vowed. “And we will protect their right to work, we’ll protect their right of businesses to operate, and we will protect the right of our kids to attend school in person.”
Under no circumstances will children be forced by the government to wear masks, DeSantis added, stating it “would be a huge mistake.”
Despite pressure from the federal government and the CDC, the governor said “We don’t have mandates,” and “we won’t.”
Backing up his decision with facts, he said that in Florida’s 2021 school year last Spring, the districts that implemented mask wearing did not perform statistically different from those that didn’t.
Mask-wearing had “virtually no impact” on school performance, DeSantis said.
He argued that, instead, “the forced masking…has harmed students.”
“So the question is, shouldn’t this be something the parent is best to evaluate – the effect that this would have on their children? Why would we have government force masks on our kids when many of these kids are already immune through prior infection?” the governor asked.
“They’re at virtually zero risk of significant illness,” he continued. Especially “when virtually every school personnel has had access to the vaccine for months and months.”
DeSantis’ upcoming executive order will direct the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health to issue emergency rules to allow parents to decide whether their children wear masks in schools, the Palm Beach Post reported.