DeSantis: Schools to remain open this spring; virtual learning continues

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday afternoon that schools will remain open for the spring 2021 semester and virtual learning will continue to be an option for parents.

DeSantis said school districts will have to notify parents if their child is struggling with distance learning.

He said those students must resume face-to-face learning unless their parents opt out.

“If you have those kids in virtual, try to get them more and more into face-to-face (learning), because we know it works,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said during the news conference at Boggy Creek Elementary School near Kissimmee.

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Each district will be required to submit a spring 2021 education plan to the state by Dec. 15.

The plans must outline how schools will identify which students are struggling, when parents will be notified of their student’s performance and how their needs will be addressed.

DeSantis said previously closing schools was a mistake.

“Closing schools due to coronavirus is probably the biggest public health blunder in modern American history,” he said. “Schools are just a safe place to be for these kids with this particular pathogen.”

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Reporter Cierra Putman asked DeSantis if he would consider a request by some Florida mayors to issue a statewide mask mandate.

“I’m opposed to mandates period,” he said. “I don’t think they work. Fining people, I think, is totally overboard.”

DeSantis said lockdowns, fines and school closures are “off the table.”

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV in 2014.