Personal responsibility and choice, not mandates, will continue to be a priority in Florida even as the surge in new COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant continues to grow, state Rep. Daniel Perez said Thursday on Newsmax.
"We are seeing a recent uptick in cases, but what's being discussed in Florida right now more than anything is the local mask mandates that have happened in Broward (County)," said the Florida Republican on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We are adamantly opposed against any mandates for children in schools while they are trying to learn."
Members of the Broward County Board of Education Wednesday voted unanimously to require masks in schools in a decision coming the day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its recommendations and said that all people, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, reports The Miami Herald.
"The mask is the only thing you really have to minimize your chance of getting COVID," Broward School Board Chair Rosalind Osgood told reporters in Fort Lauderdale.
Perez said that "across the board," Florida officials have been "open and clear" that personal responsibility and parental choice are a priority, and "we will continue down that path moving forward."
Further, he said that even with the growth of reported cases, death numbers in the state remain "incredibly low."
Perez added that according to a recent study on Florida children who wore masks in school and those who did not, the results showed that there was no difference in the numbers of children who became ill.
"What we're doing is the same way we allow parents to make the choice for their children," said Perez. "We also have to respect the choice of those parents who do not want their children to wear masks."
But there are local governments in the state that are trying to implement masks mandates for children as young as the age of two, and "we're not going to stand by that," he added.
"I do support the governor's position," said Perez of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who opposes mask and vaccine mandates.
"All options are on the team, and everything is being considered to make sure that we trust parents," said Perez. "Then, we allow parents to make the decision on what is best for their children."
And even with the new CDC recommendations that all children wear masks, DeSantis will "stand by trusting parents to do what's best for their children," said Perez, adding that lawmakers may need a special session to take place to discuss the matter.
"I don't want to speak on behalf of the governor, but I can tell you that all options are being considered by the House, by the senate, and by the governor's office," said Perez. "So we will cross our bridges as we kind of see these local governments make their decision. But one thing is clear. It's one thing I want to take from this interview, if you take nothing else, is we will always stand by the parents' ability to make the choice for their children and what they see him as best and if they believe it is in the best interest of their child's wear masks, and they can have their child wear masks. We're not telling them not to."
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