Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis became irritated Wednesday during a press conference upon seeing masked up students, telling them they can take their masks off because “it’s not doing anything.”
“You do not have to wear those masks,” DeSantis said while speaking at the University of South Florida. “Please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
NEW: @GovRonDeSantis annoyed with USF students—
“You do not have to wear those masks. Please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve gotta stop with this Covid theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”https://t.co/7j1Pb2hV53 @WFLA pic.twitter.com/ZIOyTHLOh3
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) March 2, 2022
WFLA reporter Evan Donovan said the students seen in the video were likely high school students from the Hillsborough School District. (RELATED: Second Grader Suspended For Not Wearing Mask Speaks Out Against Mandates With DeSantis)
DeSantis has been outspoken against mask mandates, announcing in July an executive order banning mask mandates in schools and granting parents the right to choose whether their children wear a mask in the classroom. DeSantis said forced masking “has harmed students.”
DeSantis then said the state’s Board of Education could withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members for enforcing mask mandates in an August statement.
A Florida judge then ruled in September that DeSantis could not bar schools from implementing mask mandates until the legal battle between the state and local school boards is settled in court after several districts challenged the July order.
The 1st District Court of Appeals reimposed a stay on the order just two days later, allowing DeSantis to punish districts that do not comply with his order.