TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he is forming a task force to plan the gradual reopening of businesses before there is a vaccine for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness that is to blame for the deaths of more than 600 people in Florida, a state of about 21.4 million people.
“We obviously have got to be thinking about what the next steps are for the State of Florida,” DeSantis said. "It obviously is prudent to start thinking about and planning for people getting back to work and getting society functioning in a more healthy way.
In South Florida, that may begin with the reopening of parks and outdoor spaces, then move to restaurants, with masks and proper social distancing.
The task force will also consider the reopening of public schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, which epidemiologists around the world are fighting with mitigation strategies that include social distancing and isolating both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
“If it’s safe, we want kids to be in school,” DeSantis said. “I think most parents want that.”
DeSantis said he will be announcing the members of the task force later this week. His order to close schools expires May 1st.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho disagrees with the idea of planning to reopen schools on 2020.
“This year’s last day of school for students is June 3rd. High school graduations begin on May 26th," Carvalho wrote. "Bottom line, there are between 26 and 33 days of schooling left this school year. A physical return to schools this year is not only unlikely but imprudent.”