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CDC reverses course on K-12 mask guidelines, contradicting DeSantis plans for school

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Government. Ron DeSantis on Monday assembled a group of scholars who have criticized hiding children for the upcoming school year, a move that came just a day prior federal guidelines were revised to say everyone should wear masks inside K-12 schools amid a nationwide wave of COVID-19 cases.


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“Hiding students is inconvenient, but it will allow them to learn and be with their classmates with the best available protection,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday, shortly following the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that “hiding students is uncomfortable, but will allow them to learn and be with their classmates.” Regardless of their vaccination status, they should wear masks heading to their own classes in the fall.

New federal mask guidelines are almost positive to hoist more tension in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has been doubling down on his opposition to masking children as school boards across the state confront more intense debates about whether children should wear masks inside schools when in-person learning resumes in August.

On Monday, DeSantis made his position on school mask mandates very clear during a closed-door discussion. He invited a group of four doctors, a parent and student, all of whom have views aligned with the governor’s handling of the pandemic, to discuss the issue of mask mandates.

No public, reporters are not allowed

The panel discussion was closed to the public, and no reporters were invited. But a video of the 50-minute panel discussion was later posted by the governor’s office on Rumble, a video platform frequently used by DeSantis that has emerged as a cautious alternative to YouTube.

In the video, DeSantis spoke of his “fear” that the federal government or local school districts would shove for required concealment of schoolchildren.

“Our view is that this should not be imposed at all,” the governor said. “There should be no assignment.”

Committee members – including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, of Stanford University School of Medicine; Doctor. Cody Meisner, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine; friendship. Mark MacDonald, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, argued that “hiding children is child abuse” and that recommendations for hidden authorization of children were “virtue signals” and based on little evidence.

“My position is simple. Hiding children is child abuse. There is no evidence to support the claim that masks forbid respiratory disease from being transmitted by viruses at all,” MacDonald said during the panel discussion.

On Tuesday, the governor’s office explained that the event was a “closed discussion” built around a pre-scheduled interview DeSantis had agreed to have with a panel member, Bhattacharya, who is working on a documentary about the pandemic.

DeSantis held a second closed-door meeting without notice on Tuesday — this time in Surfside, where the deadly Champlain Towers South apartment collapse occurred a month ago.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said DeSantis met him at the Four Seasons Hotel in Surf Club, where the governor also met the families of the crumbling Champlain Towers South apartment. Burkett, who spoke with DeSantis about the coming of the construction site and the need to quickly investigate the cause of the collapse, said DeSantis regularly met with Surfside families to offer his “ongoing support” and disburse private donations to them.

“That’s a priority for him,” Burkett said.

The CDC changes course

Federal mask guidelines released Tuesday mirror the course based on an earlier recommendation that fully vaccinated students and teachers were safe to go to school without a mask.

DeSantis has not commented publicly on the unused federal guidelines. However, DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Buchou told Fox News that the federal guidelines were not “based on science.”

“Forcing masks on vaccinated people undermines public confidence in the efficacy of vaccines. To me, it seems the government wants to be seen as ‘doing something’ during an uptick in seasonal infections, even if its policy doesn’t necessarily make people safer.”

But the governor has said twice that he is willing to call a exceptional session of the legislature to forbid the mandates if there is pressure from the federal government or school districts to enforce them.

“I know our legislature feels very strongly about that,” DeSantis said Monday. “I know they are interested in attending, even in a private session to be competent to provide protection for parents and children who just want to breathe freely and don’t want to suffer under these masks during the school year.”

DeSantis has not officially invited a private session. Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson, R-Trlby, and House Speaker Chris Sprouls, R Palm Harbor, did not immediately respond to text messages seeking comment on a potential legislative session on the matter.

For months, the wearing of masks has been a politically contentious issue, particularly in schools, and federal guidelines released Tuesday may intensify the debate over whether students need to wear masks inside schools when in-person learning resumes in August for the next school year.

Many school boards have faced renewed calls, from both mask proponents and opponents, to look into the problem, as Florida sees an increase in COVID-19 cases and a slowdown in vaccination efforts.

The issue was expected to come up Tuesday during school board meetings in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. In Broward County, the school board was in the process of discussing the issue of masks, but the in-person meeting was called off following a group of anti-mask protesters refused to wear masks inside the building.

DeSantis management has been trying to stay away from mask mandates for several months. In April, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a memo to school administrators asking them to review their school district’s mask policy, if they have one, to be voluntary rather than required for the 2021-22 school year.

At the time, Corcoran said the data showed that the regions’ confront covering policies were not affecting the spread of the coronavirus. that families and individuals should maintain their aptitude to make a decision unique to their circumstances; Compulsory comprehensive confront covering policies “serve no residual benefit at this point in our schools.” But he did not include any data or studies to support his reasons in the memo.

On Monday, DeSantis reiterated his skepticism about the science behind the mask requirements.

“Can they point to something and say, OK, Gee, the Chicago school district has a mask requirement, this other school district didn’t and look at how poorly a school district that didn’t have a mask requirement did? Are there even examples of that?” DeSantis.

Miami Herald staff writer Martin Fasulo contributed to this report.

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