Gov. DeSantis says ‘school closures should be off the table’

Orlando Sentinel | by Garfield Hylton | October 20, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about the school system and showed concern for the “physical and mental” stress of kids across the state in a press conference from Jacksonville on Tuesday.

“Schools are not drivers of spreading coronavirus and schools need to be open,” he said, a statement he’s been championing since the summer.

DeSantis gave special notes to charters and private schools for remaining open because they aren’t affected by the “politics” of teachers’ unions.

The governor also said, “Whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table”

DeSantis also touched on the state task force to have visitation reopened for long-term care facilities, a work in progress.

He shared a statistic regarding the facilities, noting that since Sept. 1, positive rates for COVID-19 have dropped around 70%.

The governor shared news about a rapid test for seniors program, saying it’s “easy to administer…not 100% accurate but pretty close.”

DeSantis said he hoped COVID-19 patients will receive a vaccine, but therapeutics “has been effective.”

DeSantis also noted that during the pandemic, there’s been a big decline in several categories of health screenings for cancer, heart disease, and other ailments. He believes this will lead to “significant health problems down the road.”

He doesn’t want COVID-19 to prevent people from receiving screenings for their health.

DeSantis talked about how the virus is affecting people’s mental health, and discussed plans to use money from the CARES Act to boost resources.

“We’ve regained almost 650,000 jobs,” but also acknowledged the state has lost a lot of jobs as well.

The governor mentioned Monday’s hospitalization numbers are the lowest they’ve been since earlier in the year, but that he expects the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations to remain around 2,000 as the pandemic continues.

He reiterated how much teachers wanted to get back into the classroom for the students.

Also in attendance was state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who said Florida’s school reopenings have been an “overwhelming” success.

“What’s not happening in Florida is the permanent scarring of a generation,” Corcoran said.

DeSantis reiterated on his stance that closing down schools amid positive COVID-19 results in the state isn’t the right option.

He thinks it’s better to isolate students than it is to close everything down.

“We should not be quarantining healthy students,” DeSantis said. “Someone who had just a glancing exposure in a hallway or something…that is not the way to go.”

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