It’s been back and forth for weeks now. Whether or not to require masks in schools.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates in schools. Schools have found creative ways around it. Some have gone against him entirely.

Like I said, back and forth.

Now, we are starting to get a clearer picture of how the voters feel about this. It’s not good news for the governor.

A new Quinnipiac University poll is just out. Here’s the headline: “6 in 10 Floridians support requiring masks in schools. 61% say the recent rise in Covid cases in Florida was preventable.”

60-36% say they support requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks in schools.

It’s political too. Democrats support mask requirements 98-1. Independents support it 63-32. Republicans however, oppose it 72-24.

On the Governor’s decision to withhold school leaders’ salaries if they require masks…69% say it’s a bad idea.

It’s political. Not sure how this happened, but it has.

On the consequences of it, Quinnipiac Polling Analyst Tim Malloy says, “As COVID-19 makes a frightening resurgence, it’s Tallahassee vs. the teaching institutions. Thumbs down from Floridians on DeSantis’ ban on mask requirements in public schools. Thumbs down on DeSantis’ call to freeze pay of administrators who mandate mask wearing. And he gets scant support from fellow Republicans on penalizing the school leaders who defy him.”

So, there you have it. Will there be political consequences for Governor DeSantis? Time will tell.

The issue has landed in the courts, too. The lawsuit over the Governor’s mask ban mandate enters its final day in Leon County.

What’s at stake here? The Miami Herald explains it well: “At its core, the case pits personal liberty versus collective responsibility. It also could address some major questions: How much power do the governor and legislature have over local schools? Did DeSantis’ emergency order address a real emergency? And how useful are masks?”

We will see where this goes. So far, the judge has denied the state’s request to dismiss the case.

It didn’t have to be this way. Covid did not have to be a political issue. Sadly, it has become one.

Masks. Vaccines. There’s a divide there too. On that topic, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has weighed in.

Sheriff Judd lost a deputy to Covid this week. We don’t know if Deputy Christopher Broadhead was vaccinated. We do know he was 32 years old and the father of five.

On the subject of vaccines, Sheriff Judd tells my TV station, Fox 13, “Listen to the doctors, don’t listen to the politicians. Get your vaccine. It is a sad set of circumstances that, from the president on down, we have politicized this very dangerous disease. We need to follow the doctors, the scientists, who have spent their entire lives preparing for and saving people’s lives.”

Grady Judd always speaks his mind. Thank you, Sheriff.

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