Florida Parents Outraged As Gov DeSantis Bans Mask Mandates In Schools & Cuts Funding For Any District Defying His Order

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Restricts Mask Mandates In Schools

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday, demanding mask mandates in schools be banned all while Covid cases surge in the state.

In the order, DeSantis threatened to withhold state funding from schools implementing mask mandates, making it clear to school district’s that any mandate could have disastrous financial consequences.

DeSantis claims the order is meant to "protect parents' freedom to choose whether their children wear masks."

But what about protecting children from the ongoing threat of Covid-19 that looks set to rise as schools resume?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs order to remove mask mandates from schools. 

DeSantis’s executive order requested the state's health and education departments to issue rules preventing the implementation of school mask mandates.

The order states that if a school district is unwilling to comply with the new rules, the State Board of Education can withhold state funds, discretionary grant funds or discretionary lottery funds.

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Already, DeSantis’s attack on what he labeled “unscientific and inconsistent recommendations that school-aged children wear masks" is taking effect. 

South Florida's Broward County Public Schools, Florida’s second-largest school district, has reversed a decision they made just last week to require masks in school buildings. 

But with government funding on the line, it’s unsurprising that the district has been forced to comply with DeSantis’s controversial order. 

"Broward County Public Schools intends to comply with the governor's latest executive order," they said in a statement issued this week. 

The CDC has recommended children wear masks. 

The stall on school mask mandates is a direct contradiction of recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the rising Delta variant. 

Masks are recommended for teachers, students and school staff regardless of their vaccination status. 

"CDC recommends that everyone in K through 12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies in place," said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a press briefing. 

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How Florida’s mask rules impact parents. 

The need for collective action against Covid-19 means that recommendations made by the CDC need to be followed by all in order to be successful. 

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Orders like that made by DeSantis may protect the so-called “rights” of parents who don’t want their children to wear masks but they do little to protect the rights of parents who want their children to be as protected as possible from Covid-19. 

Parenting and family expert Keya Murthy says, “Parents who want to protect their children and those who feel masks protect their children from infections will have to decide for themselves if their children will continue to wear masks or no. Mandatory masks might not be the law, but people still have the freedom of choice to have their children wear them or not.”

However, a child’s risk of exposure to Covid-19 increases when students in their classroom don’t wear masks. Deciding to make your own child wear a mask to protect themselves is no longer enough in a state that is actively discouraging schools and students from making that choice. 

All while DeSantis makes these potentially dangerous rules, new cases of Covid-19 have jumped by 50% in the final week of July in comparison to the week prior. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.