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DeSantis Says School Closures Should Be ‘Off The Table,’ But The Decision Is Up To Districts

Photo: Austin Pacheco

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to put a stop to school closures for COVID-19 purposes.

Speaking at a Jacksonville charter school alongside the state’s education commissioner, DeSantis made the case for quarantining symptomatic students and staff, but avoiding closing entire campuses.

“Going forward, whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table. They don’t do anything to mitigate COVID, but they do cause catastrophic damage to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of our youth,” said DeSantis.

A number of schools around the state have closed for weeks after positive coronavirus tests have popped up, including multiple in Jacksonville where DeSantis held the press conference.

DeSantis said he didn’t know about those instances specifically. Despite the hard stance he took today, the governor says closing schools is ultimately a local decision.

“Well one, it’s not our decision to close schools, but no, we are not going to recommend school closures,” said DeSantis.

Statewide teachers union, the Florida Education Association, tried unsuccessfully to sue the governor and Department of Education for its order requiring brick-and-mortar schools reopen for the fall. The order threatens to withhold funding from schools that don’t offer in-person learning.

Leon County Schools have seen 49 cases of COVID-19 reported in the last two weeks.

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