More than 800 Florida physicians implore Gov. DeSantis to allow local school mask mandates
Image via AP.

DeSantis signed an order blocking mask mandates in schools shortly before students began resuming classes.

More than 800 Florida physicians are demanding Gov. Ron DeSantis permit local school boards to install mask mandates as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread.

DeSantis has refused to reverse course after signing an executive order barring local officials from requiring students to wear masks in school. While kids are less susceptible to the virus, the delta variant’s rapid spread has sent cases soaring, causing an increase in children being hospitalized. Just two days in the school year, more than 400 students in Palm Beach County have already been quarantined because of COVID-19 concerns, though so far only a few dozen have tested positive.

“As the virus burns through Florida, health care providers feel we are fighting this fire without any leadership from Gov. Ron DeSantis,” the doctors wrote in their open letter.

“Blocking communities from making local decisions to protect themselves with his top-down, one-size-fits-all edict will only make matters worse. His executive order prohibiting local school districts from implementing COVID-19 safeguards exposes every child to a virus that is deadlier than the flu, as contagious as smallpox and preventable with two basic mitigation measures: mask use and vaccinations. Gov. DeSantis has effectively outlawed the former, and all but ignored the latter. With schools resuming and children returning to classrooms, Gov. DeSantis’ anti-safety strategy puts people at risk, including children.”

The letter campaign was organized by the Committee to Protect Health Care, a group formed to push back against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The organization now pushes for additional expansion of Medicaid and other government health care programs.

The organization has opposed DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past. Now, with many Florida students returning to the classroom this week, the group is spotlighting DeSantis’ decision to block local mask mandates.

“To protect the health of vulnerable Floridians, we are calling on Gov. DeSantis to do three things immediately,” the doctors write.

“One, Gov. DeSantis must repeal his reckless executive order and allow and encourage local school districts to implement safeguards that can minimize COVID-19 spread such as mask-wearing. Two, his administration must resume reporting COVID-19 daily data in full. And three, Gov. DeSantis must do much more to get vaccinations in people’s arms.”

The letter urges DeSantis to make vaccinations more available within schools, but also argues the Governor “rejects simple protections such as masks and vaccinations.”

Critics have called DeSantis out for framing the vaccination decision as a personal choice, arguing the Governor should more forcefully rally people to get the shot. But DeSantis has repeatedly said the vaccines are protecting people.

The Governor has opposed mandating masks, arguing parents should make that decision for their kids. He and his administration have also cited data from a Brown University study showing mask mandates did not conclusively lead to lower transmission rates in schools.

But that same study supported mask usage with or without a mandate.

“We would emphasize that, in general, this literature suggests in-person school can be operated safely with appropriate mitigation, which typically includes universal masking. It would be premature to draw any alternative conclusions about this question based on this preliminary data,” the researchers wrote.

The Governor has also met with individuals who have questioned the effectiveness of mask usage overall, an argument that does appear to be contradicted by the data DeSantis cites to support his executive order.

Democrats have slammed the Governor’s ban on school mask mandates. Some jurisdictions have also tried to push back against the Governor’s order. Now, the group of 800-plus doctors from across the state is echoing those concerns.

“Asking local schools and jurisdictions to look the other way while COVID-19 tears through our communities, or lose funding if they implement safeguards, won’t protect kids. Waving the flag of personal choice, as Gov. DeSantis does, even as those choices endanger the lives of others, only robs millions of Floridians of the freedom to eat out, be with their loved ones and, yes, learn in schools safely,” the letter reads.

“Enough is enough. Florida needs to mask up, get vaccinated, and have a Governor willing to lead.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


  • Matthew Lusk

    August 12, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    The organization who supplied your data is suspect. They imbed cookies on your computer. Be very cautious. But the question in general is why supposedly intelligent people fall for fake science? Some are on board with the hidden agenda, some are not intelligent, they just repeat journal script, some are angry at the “other team” victimizing them, some are fighting dementia and can no longer discern accurately,. Some are spiteful at the world, some enjoy sin and want to continue.

    • Tom Palmer

      August 12, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      Hope you have a night light.

    • Jeffrey Abbott

      August 13, 2021 at 6:41 am

      Kind of like the false data supplied by 4chan moderators under the persona of Q?

      “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” -Issac Asimov

    • sharron

      August 15, 2021 at 5:01 pm

      Don’t believe some of these responses, Ryan.They are just trying to discourage you. Keep writing. And thanks for spreading the truth.

  • Peterh

    August 13, 2021 at 3:30 am

    The DeSantis policies didn’t erupt overnight. They’ve been nurtured for two years in coordination with Donald Trump’s failed leadership policies.

    For the past six weeks DeSantis has marketed Florida as a maskless Covid free safe haven. This has attracted his national band of unvaccinated maskless followers to use our State as an experimental tourist Covid petri dish. The outcome was swift and predictable to anyone who believes in science.

    Rightly so, Florida is now the epicenter for National and International media speculation on Covid mismanagement by elected officials. Tourist have never shown an interest in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or other central plain states that are also showing of a Covid surge….. but tourist do care about Florida….. so we are in the spotlight.

    DeSantis’s intent is to do for the USA what he has done to Florida! He’s irrationally branded this death wish experiment as a march to freedom! He must be stopped! Like Trump, DeSantis can never be allowed in the Oval Office.

    The battle lines for and against stupid and incompetence have been drawn and will play out in the coming weeks in courts because the citizens of Florida can’t think of a better way to invest their hard earned tax dollars!

    Stay tuned! The Republican Party has a long way down before it hits bottom.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 13, 2021 at 5:15 am

    Omg. How many good, decent, innocent children is Duffus Desantis willing to let die or be in harms way? Ask him! Duffus Desantis is in Las Vegas “gambling” for pac dollars on our children’s lives!!! Lock up this damn criminal! Get out and stay out of Florida Duffus Desantis!

  • Ron Ogden

    August 13, 2021 at 6:06 am

    Left wingers and their sycophants in the media just HATE it when they have to deal with a man strong enough to do what he thinks is right. DeSantis has more spine than all the wet-willies who populate these pages combined. If you want to wear a mask, go ahead. If you want to wear two of them, go ahead. If you want to wear a mask over every orifice in your body, go ahead. You want a shot, got get one. You want two shots, sure thing. You want a shot every week just so you can prove your virtue, by all means. Oh, you want to tell ME what to do. Go to hell!

    • tjb

      August 13, 2021 at 7:55 am

      Amazing how DeSantis knows more about medicine and viruses than the medical and scientific experts.

  • Anna

    August 13, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..ii she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

    check this……

Comments are closed.


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