TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida's new Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo is making moves a day after Governor Ron DeSantis announced his appointment.
Quarantining students exposed to individuals with COVID-19 will now be at the discretion of parents.
Florida students who are exposed to COVID-19 won't have to quarantine from school if they're not showing symptoms of the virus, according to a new emergency rule issued by the state's surgeon general on Wednesday.
WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW:
"People who are healthy should be able to stay in school and that's what we're doing here today," said DeSantis.
The order states, “Schools shall allow parents or legal guardians the authority to choose how their child receives education after having direct contact with an individual that is positive for COVID-19."
New protocols make clear that when it comes to exposure though, parents will have the choice on how to proceed with quarantines.
"This change is absolutely what superintendents, parents -- they're saying, 'stop this quarantining, let the kids be in school,'" Richard Corcoran, Florida's Education Commissioner said.
They may quarantine students for no more than seven days if the student shows no sign of sickness or they can continue to send their student to school.
“We are done with fear,” Ladapo said Tuesday at his introduction as Florida's Surgeon General. “That is something that, unfortunately, has been a center point of health policy here in the United States since the start of the pandemic. It’s over here.”
The new ruling also says school districts may require masks but must allow parents to opt-out at their own discretion.
"Students may wear masks or facial coverings as a mitigation measure; however. the school must allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt-out the student from wearing a face-covering or mask... Students whose parents or legal guardian have opted them out of a mask or face covering requirement shall not be subject to any harassment or discriminatory treatment, including but not limited to: (a) Relegation to certain physical locations; (b) Isolation during school activities; or (c) Exclusion from any school-sponsored events or activities."
During the press conference, both Dr. Ladapo and Gov. DeSantis said data and studies don't justify quarantining asymptomatic, COVID-positive people.
The rulings take effect immediately.
Dr. Joseph Ladapo's (new) ruling
Dr. Scott Rivkees (old) ruling
Florida DOH COVID schools-Rule by WTXL ABC27 on Scribd