"I want you guys to step back for a moment from what you hear sort of constantly on TV. And just very briefly in terms of the data that supports mask use in kids and mandates for masking kids, it is very weak. And that's a fact," announced Lapado in a news conference on Wednesday.
Lapado announced a "substantial gap" between the quality of data backing the wearing of masks by children and what is being presented by public health officials.
"In Florida, we're going to stay close to the data, and we're going to let you know how we feel about the data. And the data do not support any clinical benefit for children in schools with mask mandates. The highest quality data find no evidence of benefit," announced Lapado.
Lapado noted stories from parents across the country, stating that these parents are put in "impossible situations."
"Putting a mask, something on the face of your child, that's a parent's decision. It's not a school decision. It's not a school board's decision. It's not a governor's decision. It's no one else's decision, except for the parent," announced Lapado. "And parents have been placed in these impossible situations related to the health of their children."
Governor Ron DeSantis chimed in, noting a Twitter thread from Biden's Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona that cited a few studies supporting masking children.
"He cited one study from North Carolina which said force masking of kids works, but it had no control group because that was required in every school. So they just said it works without comparing it against 'what if you didn't do that,' and people pointed that out immediately," announced DeSantis.
"Then he cited a study from the University — or from Wisconsin about it. And the researcher who did the study immediately responded to the tweet and said, 'we found no conclusive evidence on the force masking' and basically said that 'you should not use my study to do that,'" DeSantis went on.
DeSantis has taken a hard stand against required masking in schools over the last few months, taking several steps not to have children be forced to wear masks at school.
In September, DeSantis signed an Emergency Rule that directed how to contain the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Included in that was the ability for parents to opt-out of their children wearing masks.
That order began after a judge ruled in August that his ban on mask mandates in school was "unconstitutional." The judge ruled that letting parents have an ultimate say in whether their children will wear masks to be "without legal authority."