TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – The CDC has released new guidance for reopening schools amid the pandemic, but with its schools already open, Florida doesn’t intend to follow it.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the new guidance a disgrace and said it is based on politics not science.
New CDC guidance establishes four designations for school reopening based on case rates over the past seven days.
Of Florida’s 67 counties, all but Franklin County fall into the red category, which recommends fully virtual middle and high school learning.
“That is a disgrace. That is not science,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis denounced the CDC guidelines saying special interests are being put ahead of science.
“That is putting politics and special interests ahead of what the evidence and observed experience says,” said DeSantis.
Florida’s largest teachers union said the guidance is just that… guidance. It’s not mandatory.
Andrew Spar, President of the Florida Education Association said in many instances Florida isn’t even implementing the most basic steps recommended by the CDC.
“While most schools have mask mandates, not all of them do. I don’t know of pretty much any school district right now that can socially distance. I don’t know of any school district that’s doing regular testing and contract tracing to stay ahead of it,” said Spar.
Gov. DeSantis also scoffed at the Biden Administration’s plan to include $100 billion for safely reopening schools in a federal relief package.
FEA suggested Florida should take the money and use it to install ventilation systems, pay for cleaning and close achievement gaps made worse by the pandemic.
But the Governor pointed out, Florida is excelling under the way schools are currently operating.
“33 states have more cases per-capita than Florida for children and many of those don’t have a lot of in-person instruction in school,” said DeSantis. “There is no evidence to suggest that school kids should do anything else other than be in school. This has been clear for months and months and months.”
Governor DeSantis was clear in his message: In Florida, schools will stay the course and continue offering in-person learning so long as he’s in charge.