Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will oppose any move by the federal government to require children to wear masks in the upcoming school year.
His remarks came on Thursday during a news conference, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
"We look forward to this upcoming year to be a normal year, to be in person and learn like normal kids," he said. "There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids. We’re not doing that in Florida. We need our kids to breathe."
And DeSantis threatened to call the Florida legislature into an emergency session if need be.
He maintained masks are "terribly" uncomfortable for children and restrict their breathing.
"There’s not much science behind it," he said.
"Parents obviously can equip their kids to go to school however they want, but there shouldn’t be any coercive mandates on our schools," he said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all children over the age of two should wear masks when returning to school this year, even if they are vaccinated.
"We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely," said AAP Council on School Health chair Sonja O’Leary. "Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking, and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone."
The AAP said universal masking is necessary for school staff as well, because much of the student population is not vaccinated, and it is difficult for educational facilities to determine who is as new variants appear that could spread more easily among the young.
Meanwhile, Biden administration officials and top White House aides are discussing whether they should urge all vaccinated Americans to wear masks in additional settings, The Washington Post is reporting.
As the delta variant spreads, officials are now debating whether they should push for new mask recommendations, six people familiar with the discussions told the newspaper. Some of the talks include representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who are separately examining whether to update their masking guidance
One idea being discussed would be to ask everyone to wear masks when vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix in public places or indoors, like in malls, according to the newspaper’s sources.
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