The Florida Department of Education said that all schools in the state will have to reopen campuses in August after pandemic-related closures earlier in the year.
Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran signed the order, mandating that all physical schools have to reopen next month for at least five days per week and have to follow guidelines set by the Department of Health.
It applies to all public kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.
“Upon reopening in August, all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students, subject to advice and orders of the Florida Department of Health, local departments of health, Executive Order 20-149 and subsequent executive orders,” his order (pdf) said.
Districts also have to provide “services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school have the opportunity to do so,” the order said, including in-person instruction, specialized instruction, and services for different students that are required by state law.
Districts are required to monitor the progress of all students and report the data to the state’s education department.
Corcoran’s order leaves the door open for virtual classes. “Although it is anticipated that most students will return to full-time brick and mortar schools, some parents will continue their child’s education through innovative learning environments, often due to the medical vulnerability of the child or another family member who resides in the same household,” the order stated.
Meanwhile, “Students who are receiving instruction through innovative teaching methods must be provided additional support and the opportunity to transition to another teaching method if they fail to make adequate progress,” it read.
The order is temporary and applies only to the upcoming fall semester.
SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
The move from the Florida Department of Education follows President Donald Trump’s Twitter post on Monday that “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”
Most states closed down schools around March in a bid to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Many schools provided online teaching courses for the remainder of the year, and some schools allowed for graduations that adhered to social-distancing guidelines.
The Trump administration’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, backed the statement. “Absolutely right, @POTUS! Learning must continue for all students. American education must be fully open and fully operational this fall!” she wrote.