Not enough data to back up push that masks aren’t needed in Florida schools, experts say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A health statistician and epidemiologist both told Channel 9 Friday that they don’t feel there is enough data to back up the Florida education commissioner’s claim that masks are not needed in schools.

Both scientists said it’s too soon for the commissioner to be able to say that mask policies “serve no remaining good at this point in our schools.”

READ: Florida’s education commissioner calls for schools to remove mask mandates in the fall

That’s because only rural counties had voluntary mask mandates last fall, which means you can’t really say how that would impact bigger districts with urban cities like Orlando.

“It’s important to realize that 93% of the population of students are in a county or a school district that did implement massive mandate,” epidemiologist Jason Salemi said.

READ: Florida House passes bill to ban transgender females from competing in girls’ and women’s sports

Without information from any urban districts, Salemi and public health statistician and Texas A & M Professor Emeritus Eric Solomon said there are no data to confirm or deny mask effectiveness in schools.

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.