After months of authorized challenges, heated faculty board conferences, and confusion amongst dad and mom, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a invoice earlier this month that prohibits schools from mandating masks for college kids.
Carlee Simon, the superintendent of one of the final faculty districts within the state to drop their mandate, Alachua County Public Schools, wrote an op-ed final week criticizing the anti-mask mandate law — and now Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is backing her up.
“This isn’t difficult & Superintendent Simon is true. As educators, it is our job to maintain our schools safe and that requires masks,” Cardona tweeted on Monday.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s workplace hit again on the criticism on Monday, arguing that “forced-masking schoolchildren is completely not the ‘scientific consensus.’”
“Secretary Cardona’s obsession with forcing youngsters to cowl their faces is rooted in politics, not public well being,” Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’s press secretary, advised Fox News on Monday.
“It is just not the position of the federal government to drive youngsters to put on masks. Governor DeSantis believes dad and mom know their very own youngsters finest, and he trusts dad and mom to make the appropriate selections for his or her youngsters.”
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Simon, in the meantime, argued that that the law takes away “mitigation methods” like masks and quarantines that schools have used to battle the pandemic.
“If one other surge involves Florida, schools can have been hamstrung by state leaders extra involved about appeasing their governor and his political base than selling the well being and well-being of their constituents,” Simon wrote.
While some research have proven that masks can assist gradual the unfold of COVID-19, there may be additionally proof that masking could also be detrimental to the event of younger youngsters.
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“Masks worn in public settings and at school or daycare settings might affect a variety of early creating abilities, resembling attachment, facial processing, and socioemotional processing,” Brown University researchers wrote in a examine in August.
The World Health Organization advises that youngsters youthful than 5 should not put on masks, and youngsters between 6 and 11 years of age ought to solely put on masks beneath sure circumstances.
Severe sickness from COVID-19 in youngsters seems to be uncommon, in response to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children accounted for roughly 25.1% of all circumstances reported within the United States between Nov. 11 and Nov. 18, however solely account for 1.7%-4.0% of hospitalizations and 0.00%-0.25% of all COVID-19 deaths.
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The Biden administration has threatened authorized motion towards a number of states which have refused to implement masks mandates in schools, however Cardona mentioned he’s reluctant to withhold federal funds from these districts.
“I do not know that holding funds from college students is the perfect strategy,” Cardona advised Axios final month. “Ultimately, the scholars want extra assist, not much less.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.