JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida will not shut down schools again, even if the state sees another spike in coronavirus cases amid the ongoing pandemic. That's the stance of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who addressed the matter Tuesday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Speaking at the Jacksonville Classical Academy, where he was joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, DeSantis stressed the importance of in-person learning.
"Schools are not drivers of spreading coronavirus," DeSantis said. "And schools need to be open. It is a bad public health policy to have schools closed."
Currently, all 67 counties are offering in-person instruction in Florida. And, more than 60 percent of the state's students have opted for traditional learning.
"Whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table," DeSantis added. "They don't do anything to mitigate COVID, but they do cause catastrophic damage to the physical, mental and social well-being of our youth. Let's not repeat any mistakes of the past."
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appears to back up the governor's statements, indicating that global regions like Hong Kong, which closed schools, did not see more success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 than those that did not – like Singapore. The CDC suggests other mitigation efforts like handwashing and isolation have greater impacts on reducing the spread of COVID-19 than general school closures.
10 Tampa Bay has been tracking coronavirus cases in Bay area schools. Click here for a breakdown.
While in Jacksonville, the governor also talked about how happy he was that fall sports had resumed.
An appeals court recently overturned a lower court's ruling that the state violated the Florida Constitution with its July order to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a 31-page ruling, the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson's decision to side with the state's largest teachers' union. The union had argued Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran's choice to reopen schools ignored the constitutional right to a safe education.
But, the appeals court has now overturned that ruling, with its three-judge panel deciding Corcoran's original order allowed districts to reopen physical school buildings but didn't explicitly force teachers and students back into classrooms this year.
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