DeSantis
© Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down Thursday on his opposition to mask mandates for public-school students during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he would call for a special legislative session if the federal government moves toward requiring masks in schools.
"There's been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids. We're not doing that in Florida, OK? We need our kids to breathe."
DeSantis made the remarks while in Fort Pierce for a ceremonial bill signing with House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor. DeSantis said he and Sprowls would back a special session if the federal government requires masks in schools, adding that Florida districts will keep masks optional for students.
"As of right now, all the school districts are going in that direction. But there is going to be, it looks like, a campaign from Washington to try to change that. I've talked to Chris Sprowls, if we need to bring (lawmakers) back in to be able to do something from the legislative perspective, he's all in."
The comments came as Florida and other parts of the country are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, at least in part because of the dangerous delta variant of the coronavirus.

DeSantis on Wednesday endorsed Floridians getting vaccinated against COVID-19, but children younger than 12 remain ineligible for the shots. Last year, DeSantis pushed schools to reopen for in-person learning amid the pandemic.