HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – State education leaders are processing Governor Ron DeSantis’ push to reopen schools amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Florida Board of Education met with DeSantis at Strawberry Crest High School in Dover Wednesday morning to discuss their plan for reopening schools and how CARES Act funding is being distributed.

It’s the first time the group had met in person since Feb. 12, before the pandemic.

DeSantis told the board he was confident schools could reopen safely.

“I know they are working hard for ways to have a safe environment. I am confident it can be done. I have seen it done,” he said.

He said distance learning was still an option for parents uncomfortable bringing their children to school.

“Any parent has the option to opt of whatever they think is best for their kids in terms of academics, safety,” DeSantis said.

Earlier this month, the department said all brick and mortar schools in Florida must reopen in August and provide “the full panoply of services.”

The board went on to discuss a number of agenda items at Wednesday’s meeting.

Before the meeting, protesters with People Over PACs and Black Lives Matter stood outside the school to demand a return to virtual learning.

“With Florida breaking records with either new infections or deaths over the last few weeks, the idea of reopening schools across the state is absolute insanity, putting our children, teachers, parents and school support staff at serious risk. It’s a dangerous plan, and People Over PACs and Black Lives Matter are joining forces to stop it,” the groups said in a joint statement.

Their rally follows a number of protests in the Tampa Bay area with people calling for schools to stay closed. On Tuesday, a group of teachers held a press conference outside the school district headquarters in Pinellas County.

“This isn’t about teachers saying, ‘I don’t feel safe going back to work.’ This is about it being unsafe for our students to go back to school,” Dr. Christy Foust, a high school teacher said.