DeSantis to sign executive order allowing parents to defy school mask mandates

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday said he will sign an executive order to "protect the rights of parents" and allow them to choose whether their children should wear masks even if their school requires them to do so.

"In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. 

The governor cited a Brown University study that found no connection between case rates and mask mandates at schools. Critics have said that study was centered on schools in smaller communities that reopened earlier in the pandemic and is now outdated, according to WPLG, which reported on the DeSantis decision.

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DeSantis's announcement follows Broward County's decision to require students in their public schools to wear masks going into the 2021-22 school year. 

"There is no way in good conscious that I could bring anybody back into a school environment on the bus, the cafeteria, and not have a mask mandate. That is a moral decision," Broward School Board Chair Rosalind Osgood said Wednesday. 

Conflicting guidance about masks in schools has flustered the public over the past few weeks as back-to-school season approaches. 

President Biden addressed the confusion in a town hall last week, noting that he expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to urge unvaccinated students to wear masks in schools and to continue to advise vaccinated students that they don’t need masks.