TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Following a business-focused roundtable discussion at Port Tampa Bay Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis was asked by News Channel 8 about the impacts coronavirus will have in K-12 schools.

As students begin to return to the classroom, local school board officials, parents and teachers continue to wonder how that will impact the number of coronavirus cases among school-aged children.

While the Florida Department of Health is reporting roughly 9,000 new cases among school-aged children since classes resumed for some students across the state.

  • Aug. 9: 39,735 cases in children, 436 children hospitalized
  • Aug. 25: 48,928 cases in children, 611 children hospitalized
    • Increase of 9,193 cases and 175 hospitalizations

DeSantis said Thursday it is not likely the children with reported cases contracted the virus by returning to school.

“So Baker County opened Aug. 10. If you get a case on Aug. 11, that infection did not occur during the school year,” he said.

And while that may be true, what’s going to happen when one of those cases does occur inside a school?


The governor maintained that it is not necessary to shut down schools if some students, teachers, or facility members become infected with the virus.

“If you have a student that has symptoms, obviously the student should stay home. But if you have somebody you passed by in the hallway, I would say symptoms-based approach, monitor that person but if they don’t have symptoms you don’t need to quarantine them and that’s kind of the surgical approach,” he said.

The governor expressed how important it is to give parents a choice if they want their child to return to the classroom or to stay home for online learning.

Earlier in the week, Judge Charles Dodson made a ruling in the Florida Education Association’s lawsuit against the state with regards to reopening schools.

His ruling stated that the state’s emergency order to mandate the reopening of schools by Aug. 31 was unconstitutional. The state later appealed, which invoked an automatic stay of the judge’s order.

Thursday afternoon, Dodson issued an order to vacate that stay which said that the state’s response “drastically misstates what the temporary injunction order did and did not do.”

The state has another opportunity to appeal the ruling, which DeSantis stated he feels confident they will win.

Click here to download the full pediatric COVID-19 report from the Florida Department of Health.