‘We’re playing politics with our children’: Daniella Levine Cava knocks state pandemic handling

Mask rules for Miami-Dade County students ended Monday, amid a record number of new COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Ron DeSantis may have won a legal battle to stop local governments from mandating masks in public schools, but history will remember his victory as part of the politicization of common-sense pandemic safeguards, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

State overreach was a prominent topic during a news conference hosted by Levine Cava on Tuesday to endorse Sen. Annette Taddeo as Florida’s next Governor. The two women discussed several instances of interference from Tallahassee, from the blocking of localities from enacting COVID-19 safety guidelines and an ongoing legal battle over the future control of county tollway agency MDX to limiting access local governments have to pandemic information — the latter of which is the subject of a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Health.

Asked to comment on Miami-Dade Public Schools’ new policy that makes masks mandatory for adults but optional for students — which went into effect Monday under a recently upheld executive order DeSantis signed in June — Levine Cava did not mince words.

“We’re playing politics with our children, “she said. “That’s shameful.”

DeSantis’ executive order empowers the state to withhold discretionary funding, grant dollars, lottery funds, and other financial provisions from a school district that disobeys a relatively new Parents’ Bill of Rights that grants parents the final say in whether their kids wear masks in school.

“We need those dollars to educate our children,” Levine Cava said. “That’s a choice nobody should have to make, between educating our children and keeping them safe.”

In terms of infections, Florida just experienced its worst week since the pandemic’s onset, with 169,618 new COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Dec. 28.

More than a week before, Levine directed hospitals in the county to resume daily reporting.

The sharp uptick in cases comes months after more than 800 Florida physicians implored the Governor to allow local school boards to implement mask mandates.

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

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Tcm

    January 4, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    No cava, you are rude and a partisan hack Dem.
    How pathetic you are ccava.This great America’s Governor made a difference for Surfside residents and families and this is how you show your thanks. Just go away Cava Levine.

  • Alex

    January 5, 2022 at 7:26 am

    DeAnus’s neglect of sanity has killed thousands of Floridians and sickened hundreds of school children..

    • Tom

      January 7, 2022 at 3:16 pm

      Lies !

  • Conservative always

    January 5, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    Children have a 99.995 percent chance of survival if they contract COVID. Making children wear masks is child abuse.

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Comments are closed.


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