- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed an order banning schools across the state from requiring masks.
- Florida schools that implement a mask mandate run the risk of losing state funding.
- The move came days after the CDC recommended that students and staff mask themselves when they return to class.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, on Friday signed an executive order banning schools in the state from requiring students to wear face masks when they return to class in the fall.
The executive order, released Friday, is “effective immediately” and directs the Florida Department of Health and Education to issue emergency rules that state that decisions about whether students will be masked in classrooms. class will be left to parents rather than school officials.
According to the ordinance, schools that do not comply with guidelines from the education and health departments run the risk of losing state funding.
“We think this is the fairest way to do it,” DeSantis said Friday at an event at an Italian restaurant in Cape Coral, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their children to attend school in person, they must be required to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said in a statement. press announcing the order.
“Many Florida school children have suffered from forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions about the wearing of masks by their children,” he added.
DeSantis’ order on Friday comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended this week that students and staff at K-12 schools wear masks in class regardless of their immunization status, as Insider previously reported. .
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The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommended this month that students and staff – regardless of vaccinations – mask themselves in schools this fall.
The CDC guidelines came amid a larger shift within the agency, which this week recommended that fully vaccinated people mask themselves indoors in areas of the United States with high levels of transmission. of COVID-19. The CDC said in May that fully vaccinated people could ditch their masks in most settings.
The changes, the CDC said, were due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease, which is at least in part responsible for the continued increase in cases in the United States.
“Information on the Delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that on rare occasions some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and transmit the virus to others,” said Tuesday the director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately deserves an update in our recommendations.”
The United States on Friday reported more than 122,000 new cases of the disease, according to data analyzed by The New York Times – the largest single-day increase in more than five months. The state of Florida came close to its worst COVID-19 week ever this week, reporting more than 110,000 new infections in the past seven days, the Orlando Sentinel reported.