Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced that he would issue an executive order defying the federal government’s new masking recommendations for school children. The order will direct the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health to promulgate emergency rules giving parents the authority to decide whether their children will wear masks when they return to school next month.
“I want to empower parents to make the best decisions they can for the well-being of their children,” DeSantis told a crowd during a press conference at a Cape Coral restaurant.
Now there’s a novel idea: letting parents, rather than the government, decide what’s best for their own personal children.
In case there was any doubt where Gov. DeSantis stands on further COVID mandates, he declared: “There will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida.” The crowd roared its approval.
On Tuesday, the CDC updated its COVID-19 guidance to advise masking in indoor settings for the unvaccinated, which includes children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the shot, and, remarkably, for those who have been vaccinated if they live in areas with high infection rates.
CDC recommends all unvaccinated persons wear masks in public indoor settings. Based on emerging evidence on the Delta variant (2), CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated persons wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Fully vaccinated persons might consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings, regardless of transmission level, if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or is at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated (including children aged <12 years who are currently ineligible for vaccination).
We’ve been saying here at PJ Media for months that Dr. Fauci, the Democrats, and the media have been the most prolific vaccine deniers in the country. Recommending that vaccinated individuals continue to mask flies in the face of everything they’ve been saying about the efficacy of the vaccines and ignores the science on the vaccines’ efficacy. Either they work or they don’t. If they don’t, and we must continue to mask, why are they urging—and in some cases forcing—people to take the jab? Is it any wonder that so many Americans don’t trust these people with their health?
“Floridians have been, are, and will remain free to choose what’s best for themselves and their families and we will protect their right to work, will protect the right of businesses to operate, and we will protect the right of our kids to attend school in person,” the governor continued.
He noted that Florida was the only large state that had widespread in-person schooling for the entire last school year, but lamented that a majority of school districts required masks. He cited a Brown University study comparing outcomes in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, which concluded that there was “no correlation” between case rates and mask mandates in K-12 schools.
“We can say, in Florida, for the 2020-21 school year, that the districts that did not require masks did not perform statistically different from those that did,” he explained. Private and charter schools that didn’t require masks had similar outcomes.
“CDC’s position is that every single student, every single staff member, every single teacher must be masked at all time,” despite the fact that many of the students have already recovered from COVID-19 and the vaccine has been available to staff for months. DeSantis explained that much of the current wave of the virus moving through the state is driven by young people who are not getting very sick and are developing immunity. He said it’s “frustrating” that the government is pushing vaccinations while at the same time continuing to require masking. “What message does that send?”
DeSantis said he’s also frustrated that there seems to be no end in sight for the mandates. “There’s no off-ramp. We were told that the off-ramp was vaccination. Now we’re told that that’s not going to be the case and now you’re going to have to do masking, you may have to do restrictions and other severe forms of mitigation that will have a devastating impact on so many people’s lives and livelihoods and freedoms. So CDC’s policies, by doing this so hamhandedly by not looking things like this Brown study, it really shows a callous disregard for the physical, emotional, and academic well-being of our children,” he said. “They need to be put first. We had this whole year and a half where so many people in society wanted to put kids last. They wanted to impose most of the extreme mitigation on the kids that were the least likely to face any negative harm from this and, obviously, who were in very developmental stages where this could do a lot of potential damage. The forced masking, it has harmed students.”
Related: Why Democrats Fear Ron DeSantis
“Last month I signed HB 241, the Parents’ Bill of Rights. The bill prevents any institution from infringing on the ‘fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of his or her minor child.’ I think this decision about whether parents want their kids to have to wear masks all day in school, I think that’s a decision that falls squarely within the contours of this Parents’ Bill of Rights that I signed, and so, accordingly, very soon, I will be signing an executive order which directs the Florida Department of Education and Florida Department of Health to issue emergency rules protecting the rights of parents to make this decision about wearing masks for their children. We think that that’s the most fair way to do it. ”
“You know, I have young kids,” he said. “My wife and I are not going to do the masks with the kids, we never have. I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun.”
“And the question is, shouldn’t this be something the parent is best to evaluate the effect that this has on their children? Why would we have government force masks on our kids when many of these kids are already immune from prior infection, there is virtually zero risk of serious illness, and when virtually every school personnel, they’ve had access to vaccines for months and months,” DeSantis argued. “I want to empower parents to be able to make the best decisions they can for the well-being of their children… we need to make sure that the parents’ rights are protected. The parents have to come first.”
Is it any wonder Americans from blue states are flocking en masse to Florida? The state has beautiful weather, stunning beaches, and the scent of freedom in the air—thanks to Gov. DeSantis, who has been one of only a handful of governors with the courage to stand up to the fearmongering and anti-science mandates.