ORLANDO, Fla. - The high number of COVID-19 cases in Florida is concerning leaders and doctors when it comes to reopening schools.
The Florida Chapter of American Academic of Pediatrics recently sent Governor Ron DeSantis an 11-page paper of both the benefits and risks of children going back to school. They cited a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation about positive test rates being below five percent when averaged over a 14-day period -- a number the Sunshine State has not yet reached.
"If I am going to be told that I need to not go to Home Depot until the infection rate is less than five percent, then I sure as heck shouldn’t be in school for eight hours a day," Dr. David Robinson, the President of the Florida Chapter of American Academic of Pediatrics, told FOX 35. He worries that sending kids back too soon will lead to even more learning disruption. "I fear, if we go back to school with an infection rate of 12 percent, or even eight or nine percent, I am very afraid that within three or four weeks, everything will have to be shut down again.”
Earlier this month, the State Education Commissioner issued an order requiring districts to reopen brick-and-mortar schools at least five days a week in August unless state and local health officials direct otherwise.
The document from the Florida group of pediatricians also includes a series of detailed recommendations for trying to curb the spread of the virus when schools reopen. Among them are that students should be kept in small groups during the school day; children and teachers should maintain distances of six feet from each other in classrooms; and students above age five, teachers, and staff members should wear masks.
"This is the science as we understand it. This is what decreases the risks, and increases the benefits, to our children, school staff, and teachers. We want to do what’s best for them," Dr. Robinson explained.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.