Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sent the Biden administration a powerful message Thursday that he would hold a special legislative session if the federal government were to require masks in schools.
“There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids,” DeSantis said, according to WJXT-TV.
“We’re not doing that in Florida, OK? We need our kids to breathe.”
The governor said that he and Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls would hold a special session if the federal government required schoolchildren to wear masks to ensure they will remain optional for Florida students.
“As of right now, all the school districts are going in that direction. But there is going to be, it looks like, a campaign from Washington to try to change that,” he said.
“I’ve talked to Chris Sprowls, if we need to bring [lawmakers] back in to be able to do something from the legislative perspective, he’s all in.”
DeSantis’ comments came as Florida is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to the Miami Herald.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said most of the new cases are among people who have not been vaccinated.
DeSantis encouraged Floridians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Wednesday.
“If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all,” the governor said.
“These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.”
“These vacines are saving lives”
In his most direct effort to encourage people to get vaccinated, Governor Ron DeSantis said 95% of the new COVID cases are those who are not vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/3RzHYEH1mI
— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) July 21, 2021
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a news briefing Thursday that any change in the Biden administration’s masking guidelines would be based on information from the CDC.
She expressed concern about DeSantis’ opposition to mask mandates and claimed he would be putting Florida kids at risk.
“If I were a parent in Florida, that would be greatly concerning to me,” Psaki said.
“Anybody under 12 is not eligible to be vaccinated, so they would not be vaccinated, and so therefore they should be wearing a mask,” she said.
Studies have shown the risk of COVID infection to children in schools is minimal. Meanwhile, school mask mandates come with problems of their own.
Last month, a group of parents sent six face masks worn by their children to a lab at the University of Florida for analysis and were horrified when they learned the masks were teeming with 11 bacterial pathogens.
“The resulting report found that five masks were contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria,” Rational Ground reported.
“Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria.”
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