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31 Jul, 2021 04:56

In attack on CDC’s new school guidance, Florida governor signs order allowing parents to decide whether children mask up

In attack on CDC’s new school guidance, Florida governor signs order allowing parents to decide whether children mask up

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order to ensure that parents – and not officials – will decide whether pupils don masks at public schools, pushing back on recent CDC advice for K-12 students.

Signed on Friday, the new order calls on the Florida Departments of Health and Education to set rules that give parents the “freedom to choose whether their children wear masks.”

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that, in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis declared as he inked the order, adding that it was only “prudent” to give parents the discretion for the health precautions their children needed to take.

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DeSantis’s new order comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abruptly changed its guidance on K-12 schools earlier this week, recommending that all students, teachers, and staff mask up when the new school year kicks off. Long a vocal critic of the federal pandemic response, the governor launched a scathing attack on the new guidance, labelling it “unscientific and inconsistent,” and noting that his action had been prompted after several Florida schools boards had considered its implementation.

Having been accused of mixed messaging and an ever-changing stance on masks and vaccinations, the CDC defended its decision to bring back the indoor masking recommendation for all Americans regardless of their vaccination status. The agency cited a new study purportedly showing that fully vaccinated people are no less prone to falling sick with Covid-19’s Delta strain than the unvaccinated.

Conducted in a small town in Massachusetts earlier this month, the study showed that four of five patients – or 74% of those hospitalized with Covid-19 – had been fully immunized.

Also on rt.com CDC releases study showing 3/4 Delta cases are among the vaccinated, says masks are the answer

While the new guidance led some states and cities to reimpose mask mandates in a rush – with California’s Los Angeles County going as far as mandating weekly tests for all returning students and staff, both vaccinated and unvaccinated – other territories were reluctant to follow suit. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb refused to renew a statewide school mask mandate that expired on July 1, saying it was up to schools to make the call. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf confirmed on Tuesday that he would not be imposing a new mask mandate for schools, arguing that there was no point in doing so as more residents became vaccinated.

“People have the ability ... to make the decision to get a vaccine. If they do, that’s the protection,” Wolf said

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, meanwhile, went a step further, warning state authorities, including public school districts, that they would face fines if they moved to enforce the CDC advice on face coverings.

The CDC guidance applies only to regions with “substantial” or “high” viral transmission, which covers about 60% of all American counties, or those that reported at least 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the past week.

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