TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a message for America, “If you want to reopen schools, open them. Open the door. Let them come in.”
DeSantis is under fire for his state’s decision to keep schools open and to leave the decision of whether or not to attend in-person classes up to the parents, not the state or federal government. DeSantis calls his plan “Full Parental Choice” and it requires schools to remain open, but allows parents to opt-out of in-person instruction for remote instruction. DeSantis said the rest of America should consider adopting the same policy.
Gov. @RonDeSantisFL: Schools are still closed across the country “because the Democratic Party puts the interests of education unions and special interests ahead of the well-being of our children and of our families.” pic.twitter.com/bXNyZbuHuJ
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 16, 2021
The governor went on to say that the only things right now keeping students out of schools nationwide are the powerful teacher’s unions and the Democrat party.
“The school reopening plan that makes the most sense if you want to reopen schools…open them,” he said. “Let them come in and let them learn. The only reason that is not happening across the country like it is in Florida is because the Democrat party puts the interests of education unions and special interests ahead of the well-being of our children and of our families.”
CDC now recommends reopening schools
DeSantis noted that children in America, in some cases have been out of school for almost a year now. This week, the CDC updated its guidelines for returning to school suggesting that school with a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation plan can safely reopen.
“Evidence suggests that many K-12 schools that have strictly implemented mitigation strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open,” the CDC said this week. “The absence of in-person educational options may disadvantage children from low-resourced communities, which may include large representation of racial and ethnic minority groups, English learners, and students with disabilities.”
“The students have been out of school for almost a year and if you follow the CDC guidance they will not go back in this school year and they may not even go back in the fall,” he said. “That is a disgrace. That is not science. That is putting politics ahead of what’s right for kids. That’s putting politics and special interests ahead of what the evidence says.”
Here’s what the CDC recommends when it comes to reopening schools
- K–12 schools should be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures in the community have been employed, and the first to reopen when they can do so safely. Schools should be prioritized for reopening and remaining open for in-person instruction over nonessential businesses and activities.
- In-person instruction should be prioritized over extracurricular activities including sports and school events, to minimize risk of transmission in schools and protect in-person learning.
- Lower incidence of COVID-19 among younger children compared to teenagers2 suggests that younger students (for example, elementary school students) are likely to have less risk of in-school transmission due to in-person learning than older students (middle school and high school).
- Families of students who are at increased risk of severe illness (including those with special healthcare needs) or who live with people at increased risk should be given the option of virtual instruction regardless of the mode of learning offered.
- Schools are encouraged to use cohorting or podding of students, especially in moderate (yellow), substantial (orange), and high (red) levels, to facilitate testing and contact tracing, and to minimize transmission across pods.
- Schools that serve populations at risk for learning loss during virtual instruction should be prioritized for reopening and be provided the needed resources to implement mitigation.
- When implementing phased mitigation in hybrid learning modes, schools should consider prioritizing in-person instruction for students with disabilities who may require special education and related services directly provided in school environments, as well as other students who may benefit from receiving essential instruction in a school setting.
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