TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that public schools across the state will remain open in the spring and continue to offer virtual options, though new there will be more stringent monitoring requirements in virtual classes.
DeSantis held a news conference Monday at Boggy Creek Elementary School in Kissimmee. There, he emphasized that schools would remain open to in-person instruction in the spring and called those supporting school closures, "flat earthers."
"Closing schools due to coronavirus is probably the biggest blunder in U.S. history," DeSantis said.
During the conference, he said there are new requirements regarding monitoring students’ progress in virtual classes.
"We are going to be here in Florida," DeSantis said. "We are not going to abandon your child, and we are not going to abandon you."
The new rules will require parents to be notified if the student is struggling with virtual learning. If so, the transition to in-person will be made, unless a parent signs off to keep the student at home with virtual learning.
"The data and the evidence [are] overwhelmingly clear: the virtual learning is just not the same as being in person," the governor said.
He also again shot down a state mask mandate and lockdowns, saying they have not been effective in other states.
"I'm opposed to mandates, period. I don't think they work," DeSantis said. People in Florida wear [masks] when [they] go out. They don't have to be strung up by a bayonet to do it."
DeSantis was joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who spoke about why it's important to have kids back in school.
"When dealing with children's lives and dignity, we shouldn't be putting them in harm's way," said Corcoran.
Corcoran also took a jab at New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, saying that while some governors are writing books, Gov. DeSantis is reading them.
The governor has not held a news conference in almost a month, speaking on Nov. 4 following the election.