Coronavirus impacts: No decision made on returning to school in Florida


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida leaders have not yet made a decision on whether or not kids will return to schools this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.

The governor provided an update on the coronavirus Thursday that focused on the state’s transition to distance learning. He was joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

About an hour into the roundtable discussion, after hearing from educators throughout the state, the governor was asked whether or not students would return to school as normal this year. DeSantis said they have been talking about it but have not yet decided.

“If it’s safe, we want kids to be in school,” he said. “I think most parents want that. So we’re going to wait and see how this develops and make a decision there.”

The governor added that he thinks there’s value to having kids go back – if it’s safe to do so – even if it’s for a short period of time.

“If we get to the point where people think we’re on the other side of this and we can get kids back in, even if it’s for a couple of weeks, we think there would be value in that,” he said.

The governor did note that there are some counties that aren’t being impacted as much by the virus. He floated the idea that some counties could return to school while others stick with virtual learning.

“It may be not every county is going to be treated the same in this,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. If the problem is different in certain parts, then we should recognize that.”

Earlier in the meeting, Gov. DeSantis noted that there have been challenges – like parents essentially becoming teachers and having kids home all the time – but said they’ve been working through it.

“Vice President Pence recognized Florida as the leader in distance learning,” DeSantis said.

Education Commissioner Corcoran noted that the current generation is hopefully the beginning of the next great generation. He said that they have been through September 11th, the great recession and now the coronavirus pandemic.

Educators who spoke at Thursday’s meeting included Pinellas County Superintendent of Schools Mike Grego and Principal Stephanie Woodford of Lakewood Elementary.


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