Teachers Union, Health Care Group Back Mandatory Masks for Florida Schools

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The Florida Education Association (FEA) and the Committee to Protect Health Care are both supporting the idea of mandatory masks in Florida’s public schools. Both groups blasted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his efforts in opposition to such a mandate.

On Wednesday, the largest teachers’ union in Florida said individual school districts should be able to make their own decisions.

“We believe every county should be empowered to make decisions on how best to keep their students safe in consultation with local health experts and based on the unique needs and circumstances in their area,” the union said Wednesday.

Despite DeSantis issuing an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida schools, three school districts, Broward, Alachua, and Duval are moving forward with attempting to implement mask mandates. The Duval County School District is proceeding but offering an exemption for parents to sign off so their children aren’t required to wear masks.

The Committee to Protect Health Care has also gone vocal, saying DeSantis’ mandate ban could create a worse situation.

“I don’t know what more the Governor could do to make this a worse situation,” said Dr. Mona Mangat, a St. Petersburg allergist and immunologist. “I’m really frustrated because everything the Governor is doing is making it worse. To not let local schools and governments do the right thing to keep people safe is unconscionable.”

DeSantis has continued to feel pressure from numerous groups and officials calling on him to reconsider his policy, including President Joe Biden. In response, DeSantis said he did not want to hear a “blip” out of Biden until the border crisis is secured.

“This is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to quote ‘shut down the virus,’” DeSantis said. “And what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world, by having a wide open southern border.”

DeSantis finished his comments calling on Biden to “do your job.”

“So why don’t you do your job?” DeSantis said. “Why don’t you get this border secure, and until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you. Thank you.”

Earlier this week, a poll was released showing a plurality of likely Florida voters actually supported a mask mandate for school-aged children. However, DeSantis said he will not let that happen.

“Let me tell you this, if you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way,” DeSantis said. “I’m not going to let you get away with it.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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