DeSantis's Will Leave COVID Restrictions Up To The Parents

Written By BlabberBuzz | Saturday, 25 September 2021 12:00

On Wednesday, Florida's newly appointed surgeon general signed off on a new emergency rule that offers parents a choice on whether or not to quarantine their children following exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The rule, "Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings," most immediately changes the way students who are exposed to COVID-19 quarantine after the fact.

Saying that students' guardians "have a fundamental right to make healthcare decisions for their minor children," the rule now makes quarantining optional for asymptomatic students.

This means the child will be able to continue in-person schooling without quarantining as long as they are asymptomatic.

The new rule cancels out the previous one, which required students to quarantine for at least four days following exposure, according to the Orlando Sentinel. But, the rule reiterated the previous order's allowance for parents to opt-out their children from wearing masks in schools.

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The new rule also changes the language concerning school mask mandates, saying now that wearing a mask is the "parent or legal guardian's sole discretion."

The new rule was issued "in light of the unnecessary exclusion of healthy students from in-person learning and the urgent need to provide updated COVID-19 guidance to school districts," read the order signed by surgeon general Dr. Joseph Lapado.

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Officials with the Orange County and Hillsborough County public school districts sent messages to parents indicating they are reviewing Wednesday’s order by the surgeon general but that current COVID mask policies remain in place for a specific period.

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Orange County Public Schools sent a pre recorded phone message to parents that said the following:

"The district is currently reviewing the Florida Department of Health's new rule that was issued today by the state Surgeon General. As a reminder, our current mask requirement for students and adults remains in place through Oct. 30. Our goal is to keep our students and staff safe and keep our schools open. Thank you for your support of Orange County Public Schools."

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DeSantis and his new surgeon general argue that the decision over quarantine for asymptomatic students should be left up to parents.

The new rule also reportedly prompted an administrative law judge on Wednesday to dismiss a challenge brought forth against the state's mask mandate ban by a number of school districts.

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The state requested the dismissal, according to the Orlando Sentinel. They argued the challenge "was based on a rule that is now moot."

Judge Brian Newman agreed, stating there was "no wiggle room whatsoever" to allow a challenge based on a repealed rule to proceed.

Many, like Wendy Doromal, the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, say this move is not beneficial for public health.

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