The White House scolded Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday for refusing to enact mask mandates for children younger than 12 years old as they return to school.
“If I were a parent in Florida, that would be greatly concerning to me,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the daily press briefing.
DeSantis announced Thursday he will not set mask mandates for children in the Florida school system.
We’re not doing that in Florida,” he said. “We need our kids to breathe.”
Psaki responded with a personal example of the mask-wearing habits of her own children.
“We know masks are not the most comfortable thing,” she admitted. “I will say my kids are quite adjusted to them, as I know many kids are.”
STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT – SEPTEMBER 09: Harper Shea (5), lays her head down on her desk near the end of her first day of kindergarten on September 9, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. For millions of kindergartners attending in-school classes for the first time, wearing masks and social distancing at school isn’t just the new normal; it is the normal. Life in a time of coronavirus will forever be the way they began their scholastic career. Harper attends Rogers International School, a magnet K-8 school, which is part of Stamford Public Schools. The district is using a hybrid model, which includes both in-school classes and distance learning (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images).
Psaki noted that children younger than 12 are not approved to get the coronavirus vaccine, and so they should wear masks.
Refusing to enacted a mask mandate in school, Psaki warned, is dangerous for young children.
“That puts kids at risk; it’s not aligned with public health guidelines,” she protested.
But DeSantis said that guidance is not very scientific.
“We want kids to be able to be kids,” he said. “We need them to be able to breathe. It’s terribly uncomfortable for them to do it. There’s not very much science behind it.”
During a CNN town hall Wednesday night, President Joe Biden told a parent that he expects the Centers for Disease Control to require mask mandates for children returning to school.
“The CDC is going to say that what you should do is everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing masks in school,” Biden said. “That’s probably what’s going to happen.”
He also warned parents of kids older than 12 that they need to vaccinate their kids.
“It’s going to get a little bit tight in terms of, well, are mom or dad being honest that Johnny did or did not get vaccinated?” Biden said. “That’s going to raise questions.”