Ron DeSantis, the governor-elect of Florida, announced that from now on, the state would have a new symptom-based approach to quarantine students who have COVID-19. Likewise, he said that it would depend on the parents if they decide to leave their children at home even if they do not present symptoms of this disease, even when they are sure that they suffer from it.
The Republican was in charge of promulgating this new rule on Wednesday during a press conference, after Joseph Ladapo, the newly appointed Surgeon General, was in charge of publishing that morning the new emergency rule, which establishes that they must limit the times that they take a healthy student out of the classrooms since this represents a threat to the well-being of children, since it affects above all their social, intellectual, emotional and educational development, and is not necessary for the absence of the disease. “
Likewise, DeSantis said that limiting the entry of children to classrooms is an action “incredibly detrimental,” not only for each student’s education but also for the livelihood of their parents and the success of the operation of a school year.
Specifically, he said: “Quarantining healthy students is incredibly detrimental to their educational advancement. It is also incredibly disturbing for families across Florida, but particularly here in Central Florida, so we will be following a symptom-based approach. If a parent has a healthy child, that child has the right to go to school, which will be much better for many people. “
Ladapo has proven to be a great critic of mitigation measures against COVID-19, especially when it comes to the use of masks and the administration of vaccines. However, he said he shares a similar view to the governors regarding weighing the costs and benefits of the pandemic.
Likewise, he said he respects that some parents feel less comfortable sending their children to school after being exposed to the virus, so the new rule allows them to keep them at home if they wish.
He said: “The new rule also allows parents to feel more comfortable letting their healthy children go back to school.”
Carlee Simon, the superintendent of Alachua County public schools, criticized the new rule Wednesday, claiming it will likely promote the spread of the virus by preventing the quarantine and masking rules from being implemented.
Simon said via a post on Twitter: “The state is, in fact, doubling down on policies that can ultimately put students, staff, and the entire community at greater risk.”
Likewise, she said they will review the new rule, although “we will continue to follow the masking and quarantine policies currently in effect in our schools.”
The announcement of the new rule produces deep community disagreement against DeSantis, who bans local mask mandates in schools.
The Federal Department of Education has launched an investigation against Florida and four other states that prohibit schools from issuing mask mandates.
DeSantis stated that she is confident they will overcome the legal challenges during a press conference on Wednesday. She said, “There is still a lawsuit, but we will end up winning that case.”