Florida to continue funding public virtual education choice

MIAMI – Florida requires schools to remain open even during the coronavirus pandemic’s future peaks in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday, adding the state will continue to provide funding for virtual education to give parents a choice.

“Closing schools due to coronavirus is probably the biggest public health blunder in modern American history,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis discussed Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran’s new executive order, which approves funding to continue classes online during the pandemic.

“Parents must be notified if a student is struggling with virtual learning. Then the student must return to in-person instruction unless the parent affirmatively opts out and says they still want to remain virtual,” DeSantis said.

That’s already the policy of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, said the district’s Superintendent Alberto Carvalho on Monday. Carvalho and Broward Superintendent Robert W. Runcie both applauded Corcoran’s new order.

“The best policies regarding schooling during the pandemic are those that provide students access to schools while mitigating against infections,” Carvalho said.

“We appreciate that the Florida Commissioner of Education’s new executive order on school reopening continues to offer parents the flexibility to choose the learning option best suited for their student while providing financial stability to our district,” Runcie said.

DeSantis’ and Corcoran’s announcement comes a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that with precautions it is safe to keep children in classrooms.

Karla Hernandez-Mats, the president of United Teachers of Dade, said the state’s decision not to impact funding for online education was great, but the executive order should have also waived the testing requirement.

Hernandez-Mats’ complete statement

About the Authors: