Florida Is Requiring All School Districts To Reopen Campuses Next Month
All K-12 schools in Florida will reopen next month, per the education commissioner’s emergency order
Florida’s education commissioner has given an emergency order stating that all schools will reopen for in-person instruction in August, despite the state now being at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported Monday that the state’s education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, issued the order, saying in part, “All school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools in August at least five days per week for all students.” Local health officials have the power to override this decision based on the number of new cases of coronavirus in their counties, but the announcement makes it clear that districts have to prepare to open.
Florida shut down its schools on March 17 when there was an average of 69 new COVID-19 cases per day in the state, according to Huffington Post. On Sunday, Florida reported 10,059 new cases in a single 24-hour period and currently has 214,000 cases according to John’s Hopkins University. Florida recorded its highest positivity rate on Tuesday — 16.27% of Monday’s tests came back positive. The state has been at or above a 14% positivity rate for the past eight days.
Although schools may also offer remote learning, parents must have the option to send their children to a brick and mortar school. If they offer remote learning, the plans must be approved by the state. There will also be stricter guidelines around remote schooling to ensure students receive the same number of instructional hours, the same content, and the same level of interaction that students would receive if they were in school, in person.
The order appears to follow President Donald Trump’s view on the matter. He tweeted, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” which Corcoran retweeted late Monday after announcing the order.
A statement from the Classroom Teachers Association accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of putting lives at risk while pushing his political agenda. “While we know that face-to-face learning is optimal, CTA will not support a reopening plan that could expose students, teachers or their families to illness, hospitalization or death,” the organization stated. “Lost academic time and lessons can be made up ― a life cannot.”
The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association agreed with that response. “The Governor and Secretary are pushing a political and economic agenda over the safety and well-being of students, teachers and school employees,” they said.
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