DOVER, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis stressed to Florida education leaders on Wednesday morning that he believes it's safe to reopen brick and mortar schools in Florida at the start of the 2020-21 academic year.
Speaking at a Florida Department of Education meeting in Hillsborough County, the governor said health data suggests children are at lower risk of contracting COVID-19 than adults.
"I am really amazed at the extent to which people under 18 are low risk for this," DeSantis said. "Fortunately, our school children are at less risk"
Citing the fact that many daycares across the state have remained opened during the coronavirus pandemic, the governor said he feels schools could reopen safely next month.
"We're in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, but we're also in a situation where we need to provide as many options to parents as possible in terms of the education of the kids," DeSantis said.
The governor added that while he supports reopening schools, he also believes parents should have the choice over what type of education their child receives, whether it's in-person or virtual.
"Any parent has the option to opt of whatever they thing is best for their kids in terms of academics, safety," DeSantis said.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Back To School
Earlier this month, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said all public school districts must "open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students."
"Educating our kids, getting our schools open, getting our economy back on track, and keeping everybody safe is first and foremost on everyone's mind," Corcoran said at Wednesday's meeting.
However, according to education officials in Palm Beach County, school districts have some flexibility with how they reopen schools, depending on the recommendations they receive from local health officials.