Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued the following statement regarding growing concerns of parents and teachers about the safety of students in the face of Florida’s surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, including among children, as the start of a new school year approaches.
“We all want Florida’s children to be able to learn and grow in an environment where they feel safe and protected. Local school boards and counties should have the authority to make decisions that are in the best interest of their students, teachers, and communities – without facing political retribution. Now is the time for parents and teachers to stand up and make their concerns about this unacceptable government overreach known. We should not be playing politics with the lives of Florida’s kids, especially given reports that children account for nearly 1 in 5 new COVID-19 cases in our state.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated guidance recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced an executive order threatening to withhold state funds from any school boards that require mask usage during the upcoming school year.