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Gov. Ron DeSantis says risk to school children 'very low'

'School kids are not vectors of transmission,' governor says
Posted at 12:40 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 14:52:52-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis echoed Friday what he has continued to say about the future of education in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic -- that the risk to school children returning to the classroom this fall is "very low."

"I don't think there's anybody who can make an argument that this is especially risky for kids," DeSantis told reporters during a news conference at a Florida's Turnpike service plaza in Orlando. "For whatever reason, if you look at the H1N1 (virus), that was definitely more risky for kids."

DeSantis said parents should have the choice of being able to send their children back to the classroom if they're comfortable doing so.

"Just understand, the cost of not giving kids an option to be able to have in-person instruction is enormous," he added.

The Republican governor's remarks come at a time when many school districts throughout the state are deciding whether to continue with distance learning or return to the traditional classroom setting.

SPECIAL SECTION: Back To School

"School kids are not vectors of transmission," DeSantis said.

Although the governor admitted that there could always be an outbreak, he said the safety protocols in place should protect the vast majority of students.

"The risk level to school kids is very low," DeSantis reiterated. "The cost of not at least giving them the opportunity if their parents want to do it, you know, I think, is very, very high."

Some school districts, like St. Lucie County, are giving parents a choice, while others, such as Palm Beach County, seem to be leaning toward continuing with an online-only model in the fall.

DeSantis did recommend that those families with serious medical conditions might consider online learning the safer option, but he stressed that there is a price to be paid for removing children from a classroom setting.

"The cost of what we've already seen with the academic lag has been really, really significant," he said.

DeSantis said if his kids were school age, he'd be "totally comfortable" sending them to the classroom.