‘Big experiment’: Gov. DeSantis says impacts of mask-wearing on youth are unknown
Image via AP.

Ron DeSantis
'They've not spent a single penny since COVID started studying how these mitigations affect kids.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday described student mask mandates as a “big experiment” with possible health and developmental consequences on youth.

Speaking to reporters in Surfside, DeSantis criticized the “big experiment” and defended his decision to block mask mandates on school grounds.

“A lot of parents have come to me … and said this has been very difficult on their young kids,” DeSantis told reporters in Surfside. “To have them sit there for eight hours with this is not natural.”

Among his reasons, DeSantis said the impacts of long-term mask wearing are unknown.

He criticized the National Institutes of Health, suggesting the federal agency should explore the consequences of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“It’s never been studied what the effects of that are,” DeSantis said of prolonged mask-wearing. “The NIH has a $42 billion budget. They’ve not spent a single penny since COVID started studying how these mitigations affect kids.”

Issued last month, DeSantis’ executive order empowers the Department of Education to “pursue all legal means available” to combat student mask mandates. The state, among other methods, may impose financial consequences against school districts who violate the order.

Speaking Tuesday, DeSantis maintained his order will empower parents as decision-makers.

“It’s about parental choice, not government mandate,” DeSantis said. 

Despite the order, some counties, including Leon, are moving forward with public health mandates. 

In many cases, school leaders point to the surge of COVID-19 cases as their motive for challenging the order.  They assert the delta variant of the virus is more threatening to youth than the earlier strain.

DeSantis, however, challenged that theory.

“You’ve not seen a change in the proportion of the young people who end up being admitted,” DeSantis said of pediatric hospitalizations.

Notably, parents may opt to send their students to schools with COVID-19 protocols matching their preference under an emergency rule approved Friday by the State Board of Education.

Under the rule, students in mask-optional schools could transfer to private schools requiring masks. Alternatively, a parent may transfer their student out of a district with more relaxed policies.

DeSantis touted the flexibility afforded to parents under the rule.

“I think you should have the right to make that ultimate decision,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think government should override that.”

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Zhombre

    August 10, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    The Emmy-winning Cuomo, favorite of the corrupt media, has resigned in disgrace; DeSantis remains, and will be re-elected.

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 10, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Masks ARE known to harbor all kinds of fungus, bacteria and pathogens. Plus O2 level is reduced. Try double masking your the air intake on your car and see what happens!

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 10, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Wtf! Desantis! You are willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children! Lock him Duffus Desantis up! Lock him up for criminal negligence in ignoring the facts and truth for the safety of our children! Stfu Duffus Desantis!

    • Lee Duffus

      August 11, 2021 at 10:53 am

      Please spell properly. It’s “doofus.”

  • Tom

    August 10, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    No moronRed Sonja, it is you and yours that are doing so .
    Cuomo resigned after $5 million book deal and 15,000 seniors dead cause of his policy.
    He decimated the state. He fondled a dozen or more.
    The next one to go is Calis Gov Newsom. Recall in Sept. as he is Gov lockdown. He’s decimated the State. Don’t forget the Virginia Gov Northam.
    Dem women how you like your party now?
    America’s Governor, Ron Desantis stands on angels wings compared to this garbage. God Bless him and the family. Gets young leader:

    • Zhombre

      August 10, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Don’t bother. Sonja’s insane.

    • tjb

      August 12, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      You call insult Cuomo but who really cares. Just to let you know, Florida has lost over 40,000 souls to Covid. Maybe, it is time to order more coffins when ordering the respirators / ventilator.
      Just so that you and DeSantis are not confused by the word coffin:
      Merriam-Webster Definition of Coffin
      – a box or chest for burying a corpse-

  • Tom

    August 10, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    Agreed, great one but as you know the story must be told.

Comments are closed.


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