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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

DeSantis Answers Biden's Criticism Over Call To Allow Parents To Make Mask Choice

Photo: Danielle Prieur
Photo: Danielle Prieur

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he won't back down from his executive order, saying that parents in Florida will decide whether their children wear masks in schools.

Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back at President Joe Biden on Wednesday, saying he won't back on his decision to let parents decide whether their children will wear masks in schools.

“He doesn’t believe the parents should have a say in that," DeSantis said of Biden. "He thinks that should be a decision for the government. Well, I can tell you in Florida the parents are going to be the ones in charge of that decision.”

Last week, DeSantis issued an executive order that bans local governments or school districts from mandating that students wear masks in school.

On Tuesday, during a briefing at the White House, Biden criticized DeSantis' actions as "bad health policy."

“If you aren’t going to help at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives,” Biden said.

DeSantis, speaking at a news conference in Panama City, said he won’t back down, emphasizing that he is protecting the rights of parents.

“Let me tell you this," the governor said. "If you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way. I’m not going to let you get away with it. If you’re trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I’m going to stand in your way, and I’m going to stand up for the kids in Florida.”

DeSantis said the president is "facilitating" the national COVID spike through his immigration policies at the U.S.-Mexican border,

"This is a guy who ran for president saying he was gonna quote 'shut down the virus,' and what has he done? He's imported more virus from around the world by having a wide open Southern border, you have hundreds of thousands of people pouring across every month," DeSantis said.

"And it's not just from Mexico, in fact it's rarely from Mexico. You have over 100 different countries where people are pouring through. Not only are they letting them through, they're then farming them out all across our communities across this country, putting them on planes, buses. Do you think they're being worried about COVID that? Of course not."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all students in face-to-face settings wear face masks this coming school year, especially in high-transmission states like Florida.

Florida leads the country in the highest rate for coronavirus-related hospitalizations in children.

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