Ron DeSantis on Masking Kids in School: ‘We’re Not Doing that in Florida’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday affirmed his administration will not mandate that schools require children to wear masks when returning for in-person learning this Fall, noting there is “not very much science” behind the practice.

“We look forward to this upcoming year to be a normal school year, be in person and learn like normal kids,” DeSantis said during a Thursday news conference at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida, after participating in a ceremonial bill signing focused on childhood literacy.

“There’s been talk about, potentially, people advocating at the federal level imposing compulsory masks on kids. We’re not doing that in Florida, okay?” DeSantis said, triggering applause.

“We want kids to be able to be kids,” he explained. “We need them to be able to breathe. It’s terribly uncomfortable for them to do it. There’s not very much science behind it.”
DeSantis explained that Florida already saw some schools that did not have mask mandates and some that did, and the outcomes “were not meaningfully different.”
“I think it’s really important that — parents can obviously equip their kid to go to school however they want, but there shouldn’t be any coercive mandates on our schools,” he said, adding that school districts appear to be going in the right direction, falling in line with the administration’s prioritization of liberty.

“But there is going to be — it looks like a campaign from Washington to try to change that,” he said, adding that the Florida state legislature is prepared to do something from the legislative perspective if they must.

“At the end of the day, we got to start putting our kids first. We got to look out for their education. Is it really comfortable, is it really healthy, for them to be muzzled and have their breathing obstructed all day in school? I don’t think it is,” DeSantis said.

“I have a 3-year-old son. You’ve got people like Fauci saying he should be muzzled, that you should be throwing masks on these 3-year-old kids. It’s totally unacceptable and certainly unacceptable to have any level of government imposing that on parents and on kids,” he continued.

Florida, the governor added, looks forward to a “normal school year,” and at the end of the day, parents can make their own decisions on how to proceed.

“Obviously people can — parents can make decisions how they want to, we wouldn’t restrict that, but we certainly will not have any mandates on students and on parents in the upcoming school year,” he added.

DeSantis’s remarks follow President Joe Biden warning parents that children could be forced to wear masks in school.

“The CDC is going to say that what you should do is everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing masks in school,” Biden said during a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. “That’s probably what’s going to happen.”

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance recommends unvaccinated children to wear masks in school — Children under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive the vaccine. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging all children over the age of 2 to mask up in school, regardless of vaccination status.

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