Gov. DeSantis: K-12 brick-and-mortar schools closed for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year

By: - April 18, 2020 5:04 pm
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Classroom. Credit: Pixabay.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday that brick-and-mortar public schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, with K-12 students continuing distance learning at home.

Some parents weren’t interested in sending their kids back to school; others felt that, “it’s been tough around the house,” DeSantis said.

“It’s obviously not the ideal situation,” the governor added, but it was the best situation going forward.

He said the decision involved logistics and time — the school year was nearly ending, with most districts letting kids out in late May.

DeSantis said he was sensitive to issues such as, “A lot of our kids haven’t seen friends for awhile. That has social costs to it.”

The decision came following a request by the Florida Education Association, the statewide teacher’s union.

In a recent letter, the FEA pushed the governor to “keep school campuses closed for the remainder of the school year.”

“Governor DeSantis, let’s lead together. Now is the time to declare the previously unthinkable: School campuses will be closed to students for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, and education will continue to happen at a distance,” FEA President Fedrick Ingram wrote.

States from Georgia to New York have already shut down schools for the academic year, as the coronavirus pandemic has expanded across the globe, changing lives.

The alternative is a remote learning, which Florida has been using, though there have been technological glitches and concerns about students losing key instruction time.

According to the Florida Department of Education, school districts began the 2019-20 school year as early as August 12, 2019 for the vast majority of districts. The latest start was August 19, 2019, in Miami-Dade’s school district.

The regular school year was scheduled to end for students as early as May 22 and as late as June 3.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

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