ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis and State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo announced Florida parents will now have the choice if they should send their child to school if they were exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The state said if the child is asymptomatic they will be able to go to school. State documents also show a quarantine for an asymptomatic child should only last seven days. If the child ever shows any COVID-19 symptoms, state documents show the student should quarantine at home.
Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, said the move from DeSantis “took away any mitigation factors” to keep teachers and students safe in schools.
“Many of our members are quite concerned with the inability to actually take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe,” he said.
He reiterated the medical community has advised wearing a mask and quarantining if there is a case of COVID in the area.
“Just saying there should be no disruptions doesn’t get at the root of the safety and well-being and education of our children,” Spar said.
School districts across Central Florida reacted to the news on Wednesday:
Officials with Orange County Public Schools said they will review the latest rule from the Florida Department of Health.
“As a reminder, our current mask requirement for students and adults remains in place through Oct 30. Our goal is to keep our students and staff safe and keep our schools open,” OCPS said in a statement.
Marion County district officials said they will follow the latest ruling from the state.
“We will continue working with the Florida Department of Health of Marion County to keep as many students as possible in class given the ever-changing parameters and we certainly appreciate your continued patience as we charter these waters together,” Marion County schools said in an alert to parents.
Volusia County school officials said they will follow the latest ruling.
“At this time, [Volusia County Public Schools] mandatory face-covering policy, which allows parents and guardians to opt their children out, will remain in place. Unless the parent chooses to opt-out of the mandatory face-covering policy, students in grades K-12 are required to wear face masks or shields while indoors at schools and facilities and while on school buses,” Volusia County Public Schools said in a statement.
Osceola County superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said she supports the new policy.