FORT PIERCE, Fla. (CBS12) — Gov. DeSantis says students will not be required to wear masks in school as in-person learning gets underway in Florida in a matter of weeks.
"We need our kids to breathe," said DeSantis, who said there will be no mask mandates in Florida. "We need our kids to be able to be kids. It's terribly uncomfortable for them to do it."
The governor made the statement at a stop at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce where he unveiled a new law that delivers books to struggling readers in Florida.
"We look forward to a normal school year," said the governor.
DeSantis also blasted what he called a potential effort at the federal level to require students to wear masks in classrooms this fall.
"It's totally unacceptable and certainly unacceptable to have any level of government imposing that on parents and on kids," DeSantis said.
The governor said state lawmakers would be prepared to return to Tallahassee to cement the position with legislation.
DeSantis says it's up to parents to make decisions about their children.
"We've got to start putting our kids first," the governor said.
The governor also put to rest any talk of a lockdown in Florida as new cases of COVID-19 climb. DeSantis said the vaccine has been available for months.
"People need to make decisions on what's best for them," said DeSantis.
"We're going to lift people up, not locking people down."
The latest data from the Department of Health shows Florida with 2.4 million cases of the virus, a 17 percent new case positivity rate, and more than 9.7 million people who've completed their vaccines.