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Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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Will Apopka schools reopen, even if for ‘a couple weeks’? Florida officials optimistic


    Florida schools have been in a distance-learning mode since March 30 and are set to reopen May 4, but whether that is feasible for the remainder of the school year is uncertain.

What is certain is Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran want schools to reopen at some point in May, or perhaps even in June.

“We obviously would love to get back to normal as soon as we can,” DeSantis told reporters Thursday. “If it’s safe, we want kids to be in school. I think most parents want that. Even if it’s for a couple of weeks, we think there would be value in that.”

“Optimistically, if you can get some sense of normalcy for two weeks or what have you, yeah, that’s optimistically where we’d like to land, never for 1 second sacrificing all the safety issues that need to be addressed,” Corcoran said.

DeSantis said the state will “look at the evidence and make a decision” in the coming weeks about the May 4 reopening date. The governor initially closed schools until April 15 but extended the closure to May on April 1.

The “evidence” cited by DeSantis, however, is an incorrect claim that COVID-19 has killed no one under the age of 25 nationwide and “doesn’t seem to threaten kids.”

“I don’t think, nationwide, there’s been a single fatality under 25. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to threaten kids. And we lose in Florida between five and 10 kids a year for the flu,” he said. “This one, for whatever reason, is much more dangerous if you’re 65 and plus than the flu, no doubt about that.”

While children and young adults appear less vulnerable to the disease, they can be infected and can be contagious, public health officials warn, and the governor’s claim about no one under 25 years old dying from COVID-19 is untrue.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least three children nationwide have died from the disease, including 13-year-old medical cannabis oil pioneer Charlotte Figi this week.

The Washington Post reported at least nine COVID-19 positive Americans under the age of 20 have died across the U.S.

DeSantis said a potential return-to-school order could be applied regionally, county-by-county or even school-by-school.

“It may be that not every county’s going to be treated the same in this,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. If the problem is different in certain parts, then we should recognize that.”

Although there are technical issues and disparities in access to technology, DeSantis praised the “great job” school administrators, teachers, students and parents have done in adjusting quickly to distance learning offered by districts and through Florida Virtual School (FLVS), the statewide digital school district created by lawmakers in 2000.

Orlando-based FLVS provides more than 100 K-12 courses and is booting up to serve all of the state’s 2.7 million K-12 students by early May.

FLVS also can provide curriculum beyond Florida. It has signed a $525,000 agreement with the Alaska Department of Education to serve more than 300 public school students during the pandemic and train teachers on how to conduct online classes.

“School is more than a location – education can happen anywhere,” Alaska Education Commissioner Michael Johnson said in a statement about the virtual school “partnership.”


  1. So I should be in a small portable with students that could be carrying the virus and them come home and give it to my 17 and 1 year old? What about the safety of the teachers!!!!im 50 and I’m scared because my family depends on me financially!!!

  2. I will home school my children instead of sending them back to school during this uncertain time. The fact that our governor is not adequately informed and briefing the public inappropriate this inaccurate information says to me that to suggest our children are not vulnerable based on their age is irresponsible to say the least. No Governor Desantis, you dont get to gamble with my children’s lives.

  3. Be ascared…be bery ascared. Wake up, Einsteins. The population of Orange County, Florida is 1.3 million+. Those residents confimed to have been infected with the coronavirus is just over 1000 people in the entire county. That is less than one tenth of a percent. Can someone say, “Government Power grab”? Stop believing your govenrment officials. They will lead you like sheep to your own slaughter.


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