DeSantis opposes school mask mandates, cites comfort and breathing obstructions

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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FORT PIERCE, Fla. (Gray News) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is announcing his opposition to children wearing masks in school.

Speaking in Fort Pierce, the Republican said any mandates requiring mask-wearing are not in the best interests of a student’s education.

“Is it really comfortable? Is it really healthy for them to be muzzled and have their breathing obstructed all day long in school? I don’t think it is,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis’ comments come days after the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommended universal masking in schools for everyone older than 2, regardless of vaccination status.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have some varying guidance with the AAP, but he supported the stance of the group of pediatricians.

“I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, you know, they’re a thoughtful group, they analyze the situation, and if they feel that that’s the way to go, I think that’s a reasonable thing to do,” Fauci said in a CNN interview.

DeSantis criticized Fauci’s support of the recommendations.

“I have a 3-year-old son. You’ve got people like Fauci saying he should be muzzled, you should be throwing masks on these 3-year-old kids. It’s totally unacceptable.”

The AAP recommends universal masking because many children and some adults are still unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The governor did continue to push vaccination efforts in his state, citing data showing it is saving lives and preventing serious illnesses.

“If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying of COVID is zero,” DeSantis said. “If you look at the people that are admitted to hospitals, over 95% are not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.”

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