Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced that remote learning will continue into the next semester and schools will continue to be required to be open five days a week.
The announcement was expected after Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in early November that distance learning will continue into 2021.
DeSantis said all parents should have a choice to enroll students in either in-person or online learning, but continued his criticism of the decision to close schools and businesses.
“I would say that closing schools due to coronavirus is probably the biggest public health blunder in modern American history,” DeSantis said. “Schools are a safe place to be.”
Corcoran said the now updated emergency order will keep full funding in effect for school districts that continue to offer virtual learning.
Schools also have to submit an intervention plan under the new order.
This is a plan to identify and help students who are struggling, particularly students who are doing worse in school during the pandemic.
Schools are supposed to identify struggling students, reach out to their parents and recommend switching them from virtual to in-person, or vice versa.
Parents can choose to keep their students in virtual or in-person learning, but they have to sign a document acknowledging they’ve been notified and were told about the “risks.”
Schools have to submit plans for how they will determine that by Dec. 15.
A spokeswoman for Duval County Public Schools said “the pandemic hasn’t changed our philosophy’ and that if a student is not demonstrating success online … they make a recommendation to the family to return to the campus classroom.”
In Jacksonville, a Duval Charter school revealed more than a dozen students tested positive for COVID-19 before the Thanksgiving break.
On Sunday, the principal announced a staff member also tested positive.
Across Florida, cases continue to climb.
Over the weekend, Florida health officials reported more than 7,000 new cases and the state is on track to reach more than one million total cases since the start of the pandemic by Tuesday.
The governor discussed more than just schools, including plans for how the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to people.
He said today Florida may get 1-2 million doses, which he says would be enough for 500,000 to 1 million people.