Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order to allow K-12 school parents in Florida to make their own decisions about whether their kids need to wear masks in school is absolutely brazen. It is also common sense.
It’s too bad that in the COVID-19 pandemic that common sense now takes a major act of bravery to say out loud — much less write law around.
No doubt, the Governor’s executive order will end up in court against school districts who want to reimpose mask mandates for students across the board — but let’s recognize the Governor’s act of heroism for looking out for our freedom.
First, I am vaccinated against COVID-19 myself and I encourage anyone in Florida to talk to their doctor about getting vaccinated if they have not done so already.
I believe vaccines work and I applaud the diligence of our medical and scientific community for coming together to produce this vaccine so quickly.
Only the history books will accurately reflect how many millions of lives were saved because of the quick turnaround of this product of American ingenuity.
The fact that COVID-19 vaccines work so well is an important part of DeSantis’ logic in protecting the ability of parents to decide if their kids need to wear masks in school.
We cannot pretend we are still in 2020. We are now in 2021. We have a vaccine now; and it works so well, the vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida are of the unvaccinated and a very small number of those cases, according to hospital leaders, are of children under the age of 18.
Let’s also examine the Governor’s consistency in philosophy compared to his critics.
He has been consistent in providing information, but not mandates. He did not mandate wearing masks. He did not mandate lockdowns or closures. He did not mandate we all get vaccinated.
He has been consistent in providing us access to information and then letting us make the best decisions to keep our families safe.
But his critics and liberal Democrats are raging.
They are yelling that we need to “follow the science” but the science has told us to: not wear masks (2020), wear masks (2020), not wear masks if we are vaccinated (2021), wear masks even if we are vaccinated (2021).
Let’s recognize that the “science” has not been consistent. That is why “science” can’t become policy (IE mandates) on its own.
Science must always be a piece of policymaking. But science has to be filtered through a philosophy.
Thankfully, DeSantis’ philosophy is that Americans are smart; that we care about our families, and we will make good decisions with the information we are given.
Last, but not least, the Governor is right when he says the evidence around K-12 school kids wearing masks has not been proven to be significantly safer than K-12 school kids with no masks.
I have two wonderful boys in K-12 school myself. They have been in school all through the pandemic. I can tell you from experience that K-12 kids aren’t dawning their masks with any kind of precision. More often than not, their masks get pulled down, chewed on, or torn up. (And I won’t even go into how dirty they get after multiple days of use.)
In the boxing ring of COVID-19 politics, our very own Florida prizefighter Gov. Ron DeSantis has won yet another round.
I am proud that he keeps getting into the ring every day, taking the hits, and defending the liberties of Florida families like mine.
Jimmy Patronis is Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.