As school mask mandate debate rages on, do masks really work?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday questioned whether masks work. 

With masks now required in Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) starting Monday, we wanted to know how effective the face-coverings are.

Ask parents whether kids should wear masks at school and you’ll get a bunch of different answers.

"If it’s going to protect everybody else, that’s the bare minimum anyone can do right now, so I don’t really see why it has to be an issue," said parent Melanie Novotny.

"The chances of them getting it is so minuscule, .00003, something like that, that’s crazy. Why put your kids through all that?" said Dan Jiskoot, who lives in Orlando.

As the school mask mandate debate rages on, we took our questions about masks to John Lednicky, a researcher and virologist at the University of Florida. 

"They’re not 100% protective, but they’ll do a good job of reducing the spread," said Lednicky. 

He has spent the last year using new technology to research how far COVID can spread. He says when it comes to masks, something is always better than nothing, and some masks are better than others. 

If you rank them, number one is the N95. Number two is the blue disposable surgical mask. Both of those have a middle layer, a filter with a static charge. 

"That static charge helps trap the virus particles that are also charged," said Lednicky. 

But cloth masks?

"A lot of the cloth masks that people wear unfortunately don’t," meaning those cloth masks, which so many people – and especially children – wear, offer less protection, putting cloth masks in the last place.

The mask mandate goes into effect at OCPS Monday until October 30th.

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.