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Florida Governor DeSantis promises to fight federal mask mandates in schools

On Thursday, the governor said the Florida Legislature is ready to be called in to take action.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking forward to the 2021-22 academic school year being a "normal" one and is ready to strike down any mandates for kids to mask up.

According to the governor, there have been talks at the federal level, potentially advocating for the imposition of masks on students.

“We’re not doing that in Florida," he said in response.

DeSantis says he instead wants students to “learn like normal kids” and not be "muzzled" while in the classroom.

RELATED: Florida Dept. of Education doubles down on optional face masks for next school year

Instead, the governor is deferring to parents to make decisions they feel are best for their kids when it comes to face coverings. He added that the state will not restrict their wishes in equipping their students for school.

The same can't be said for the federal government. Should a "coercive" mandate be imposed, DeSantis says legislators are ready to be brought back in and take action.

Shots were also taken at the nation's top epidemiologist during the governor's comments.

"I have a 3-year-old son and you've got people like Fauci saying he should be muzzled. That you should be throwing masks on these 3-year-old kids. It's totally unacceptable," he said.

The comment is in response to Dr. Anthony Fauci calling the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance for anyone over the age of two, even if fully vaccinated, to still mask up in school "reasonable" on CNN.

RELATED: Here's where Tampa Bay area schools stand on face masks for next year

The latest information might add confusion for parents given it differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on how to safely return to the classroom.

The CDC says vaccinated staff and students don't need to wear masks in school, while the AAP is calling for anyone over the age of two, even if fully vaccinated, to still mask up.

The Florida Department of Education's approach aligns with DeSantis when it comes to face coverings. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a letter to superintendents across the state in April 2021 asking them to enact voluntary face mask policies this school year.

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