Senator Bill Cassidy (R., La.) said Sunday that he disagrees with Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s recent order that bans mask mandates in local schools.
“I’m a conservative, I think you govern best when you govern closest to the people being governed,” Cassidy said when asked about the Republican governor’s order during an appearance on CNN.
“And if a local community is having a, their ICU is full, and the people at the local schools see that they’ve got to make sure they stay open, because otherwise children miss out for another year of school, and they put in policy, then the local officials should be listened to,” Cassidy said.
“I don’t want to top-down from Washington, D.C., I don’t want to top-down from a governor’s office,” he added.
The Republican senator’s comments come as both DeSantis and Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.), also a Republican, recently signed orders prohibiting mask mandates in public schools after the CDC issued new guidance recommending that teachers, staff, and students wear face coverings indoors — even if they are vaccinated.
Cassidy argued that if local conditions are dire — “if my hospital is full, and my vaccination rate is low, and infection rate is going crazy” — that local officials should be allowed to “make those decisions best for their community.”
Meanwhile, in a statement after issuing the order, DeSantis said that the “federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day.”
“Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children,” the Florida governor said.
The order overrules requirements issued by Broward and Gadsen counties that students wear masks when they return to school.
Mask orders and mandatory vaccines have been given renewed consideration as concern grows over the highly contagious delta variant. The new variant is spreading rapidly in areas with low vaccination rates.
While children under the age of twelve are not currently eligible to be vaccinated, National Review has previously reported that unvaccinated children have a lower risk of death or serious outcome from COVID-19 than vaccinated people in their 30s do.