Florida public schools will remain open this spring for in-person instruction, even as positive coronavirus cases increase across the state.
Appearing at Boggy Creek Elementary School in Kissimmee Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis supported an emergency order from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran that requires both the brick-and-mortar schools and an online option available through the end of the school year.
The order also provides protections for school district funding.
The order also requires students to return to traditional classrooms if they are failing with virtual learning and their parents don’t formally object.
DeSantis called the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic quote "probably the biggest public health blunder in modern American history."
“The data and the evidence is overwhelmingly clear. Virtual learning is just not the same as being in person.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, feels local school districts should have more flexibility.
“During this pandemic, it’s either you agree with him or you don’t and there is no in between. That’s not leadership. That’s dictatorship, in my mind.”
DeSantis defended the state’s virtual learning efforts imposed in the spring as the coronavirus pandemic first took hold, but he says it’s very hard for kids to be away from the classroom indefinitely.
Since November 15th, the state has averaged more than 8,500 new positive coronavirus cases per day, the highest rate since late July.
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