Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced plans for Florida’s K-12 public schools to reopen at full capacity in the fall.
“Having a teacher there, there just isn’t going to be a substitute for that in-person instruction,” he said.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that’s the recommendation being made to local school superintendents.
“We want schools fully open in the fall because there is no better way to educate our kids than to have a great teacher in front of that child,” Corcoran said.
The state has released a 143 page document providing recommendations and guidelines for reopening campuses.
“We want to empower, not just the superintendents, but all local stakeholders to be able to craft a solution that makes the most sense for that area,” DeSantis said. “Florida can only hit its economic stride if schools are open.”
Among the topics included are disinfecting, social distancing, face coverings, and how to handle students and staff with medical issues.
DeSantis also discussed how the state plans to use millions of dollars in federal CARES Act funds for education.
“$64 million will be provided to close achievement gaps that have likely been exacerbated during the pandemic. These funds will provide a 4 to 5 week summer program on school campuses to students from K-5 who are identified with a substantial deficient in reading based on assessment and teacher recommendations,” said Gov. DeSantis.
Pinellas County School Superintendent Michael Grego said reopening will be “challenging,” but he says the funding will help.
“It will seek to insure that districts have flexibility, supplemental supports to implement strategies such as expanded summer hours and expanded after-school hours in the fall and digital learning devices throughout this state,” Grego said.
The plan encourages school districts to consider reopening in “steps,” suggesting reopening campuses in June for summer camps, then expanding to summer instruction in July and opening fully in August.
School districts across Florida have announced in recent days that they are working on reopening plans and details could be released within the next few weeks.