The order was issued the same day President Trump Tweeted that schools ‘must open in the fall!’
FLORIDA — Citing that in-person instruction is “the most efficacious way to get a child a world-class education,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced that although schools in Florida have “complete flexibility” to give families online options, brick and mortar schools must open for those parents who want their children back on campus.
Speaking at the State Board of Education meeting in Hillsborough County on Wednesday, Corcoran said that he would not alter his July 6 order requiring school districts to offer a five-day-a-week, traditional school option, unless state or local health departments determine it unsafe.
Parents, he said, will be able to choose whether their children go back on campus or receive online schooling. “They absolutely should have that option, and it will not come out of the emergency order,” Corcoran added.
Teachers Express Concerns
But in the face of the growing pandemic cutting a swath across the state, the order worries teachers who don’t have a choice as they are called to be back on campus.
Jorge De León, a Miami-Dade High School teacher, told The Americano he agrees that in-person teaching is generally better for students, but worries what will happen if teachers start becoming infected.
“For the first time in my life I am terrified of going back into the classroom, a place where I feel I am 100 percent at risk,”, says De León, who is also concerned for those who, like himself, have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus.
For his part, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that while he believes schools can open safely, some teachers and school employees have a higher risk of suffering serious consequences if they contracted the virus, adding that school districts need to make “special accommodations” for them.
But despite these reassurances, teacher union leaders on Monday called the order “reckless”, adding that it “could endanger the health and lives of students, parents, family members at home, educators, and the community at large.”
The order was issued the same day President Trump Tweeted that schools “must open in the fall!”, but Corcoran said that had nothing to do with the decision.