As teachers across Florida prepare for in-person classes in about a month, thousands of cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported throughout the state.
Despite the objection from some teachers, Florida schools will open this fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a statewide executive order issued Monday.
Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran signed the order Monday, with the stated goal of reopening all brick-and-mortar schools for at least five days a week for all students beginning in August, according to the executive order.
Before Florida schools reopen they must submit a plan to the school district detailing plans for health and safety precautions as well as how to monitor learning gaps amid the pandemic, according to the order. This also applies to charter schools and private schools that accept scholarship students.
The Florida Department of Education will give the final OK for school reopening plans.
[MORE DETAILS: Florida schools ordered to reopen next month]
A day after the order was issued, the Florida Department of Health reported 7,347 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, as well as 380 new hospitalizations.
The new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus cases since the disease was first detected in the state on March 1 to 213,794, with 16,425 total hospitalizations. Florida has yet to report current hospitalizations only the overall total.
On July 1, the Florida Department of Health began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories. The state reported 63 new resident deaths and zero new non-resident deaths in Florida on Tuesday, for a cumulative total of 3,841 resident deaths and 102 non-resident deaths.
An important factor to watch is the state’s rate of new daily positive cases compared to the number of people tested per day. With the new cases reported Monday morning, Florida’s daily positivity rate was 16.27%, an increase by nearly 2 points.
Below is the state dashboard. If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard on mobile, click here.
One of the youngest victims of the illness in Florida was a 17-year-old Fort Myers girl. Carsyn Leigh Davis passed away last month after complications from the disease and marked Lee County’s youngest virus-related fatality at the time, according to the Washington Post.
Davis had battled a number of challenges in her life; from age 2, she battled a host of health issues, including cancer and a rare autoimmune disorder. Davis passed on June 23, two days after her 17th birthday.
Earlier this week an 11-year-old boy in South Florida with lifelong medical problems also died from COVID-19.
Here’s how cases of COVID-19 break down by Central Florida county:
|County||Total Cases||New cases||Total hospitalizations||New hospitalizations||Deaths|
With Disney theme parks days away from reopening, cast members will put the park’s new health and safety measure to the test ahead of guest arrival.
The company is holding cast member preview days on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
On Thursday and Friday, annual passholders will get the chance to visit the parks before they open to the regular park on Saturday.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot are set to reopen July 15.
The parks were closed in mid-March as coronavirus cases increased in Florida, and Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said he was not concerned about the theme parks contributing to the current increase in COVID-19 cases.
“Disney, I have no doubt, it’s going to be a safe environment,” DeSantis said. “The folks who put a premium on safety, that’s showing you that, you know, we’re able to handle this, have society function still when people go into work, but do it in a way that you take some basic precautions and so we’re really impressed with what Universal has done, and I’ve looked at Disney’s plan ... it’s very very thorough.”
As Disney prepares to reopen, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said Monday he is starting to feel as if the area could be seeing some signs of decline in COVID-19 numbers, something he attributed to the county-wide mask mandate.
Orange County’s mask mandate began on June 20.
“So I think, in the midst of the misery that we talked about there’s some bright points there and we’re managing the virus is essentially what we’re saying to you,” Demings said.