Some parents hesitant to send kids back to school following DeSantis’ latest announcement

Hillsborough County

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Some parents are hesitant to send their children back to school following Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ latest announcement.  

DeSantis announced Thursday the state’s plans for reopening schools this fall. As soon as August, campuses will be allowed to open and operate at full capacity.  

One Hillsborough County mother told WFLA.com’s Sarafina Brooks, her son will not be a part of those plans. 

“Why would we willingly send people, especially our children, our most precious most vulnerable little people, back into the world like full force and nothing has really changed. The coronavirus is still there, people are still dying from it. They’re still new cases and the numbers are growing,” said Ronique Smith. 

Smith explained to WFLA.com she also has an autoimmune disorder and the thought of contracting COVID-19 is not only terrifying but could be life-threatening.  

“We are totally quarantined,” said Smith. “Even when we get our deliveries, we have a whole process of decontaminating them where we are outside, we spray them down with gloves on. Before we even bring them in the house, we take them out of the original packaging, we put that package into a bag, tie it up right away. We wash hands, change clothes, the whole nine yards.” 

Smith explains that her 10-year-old, who attends a private Hillsborough County school, will continue his education online until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.  

“I just don’t feel comfortable sending him back yet,” said Smith. “So, we are looking online for some e-learning programs or home-school programs, faith-based home-school programs. Just anything that we can do from home that matches our morals and also keep up with the pace that his school was moving at and a curriculum that’s very similar to what his school was using.” 

Smith is not alone in her concern. A WFLA Now interactive Facebook poll revealed that out of 1,725 people, 34 percent of voters said they’re not comfortable sending their children back to school in the fall.   

The state’s plan acknowledges “there is a potential that some families will hesitate to send their students back to school for full-time in-person learning” and districts and schools must work with families to “close any potential gaps in learning for those students.” 

“Ultimately, perfect case scenario, is that his school would offer an e-learning program similar to what they did before schools closed and he would be able to continue with that and stay with his same school,” Smith said.  

On Thursday afternoon, Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis issued a statement to WFLA regarding the state’s school reopening plan: 

“Hillsborough County Public Schools stands ready to welcome our learners back to school in the fall with open arms in a safe and deliberate manner. Our leadership has already been diligently working on our reopening plans, taking into account input from families and staff to ensure everyone returns to an environment where safety is at the forefront. Our district will continue to monitor CDC guidelines, understanding this is still a fluid situation with many moving parts. The health of our students and staff will remain one of our greatest priorities as we look forward to the fall, and we will release our plans as soon as they are finalized” 

For more on the state’s reopening plan for schools, click here

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