Richard Corcoran, Florida Education Commissioner on Monday ordered all public schools to reopen this fall despite the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.
“All school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools in August at least five days per week for all students,” the order states.
Commissioner Corcoran also mandated that all public schools operate as normal, providing full services as required by law. So in-person teaching and making the necessary requirements for special needs students.
However, local health officials can override Commissioner Corcoran’s order if they believe it is unsafe for schools to reopen due to coronavirus concerns, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Before schools can reopen, they are required to submit a reopening plan to the school district outlining what measures they plan to take to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on campus.
Alberto Carvalho, the Superintendent for Miami-Dade County Public Schools said on Monday that the state’s plan to reopen schools aligns with his district’s plan to reopen schools on August 24.
Miami-Dade County proposed a phased reopening which gives parents the option of choosing whether they want their child to be taught, online, in-person or a mixture of both. The plan was unanimously approved by the County’s school board last week and parents have until Friday to select what option best suits their child.
Still, coronavirus cases are rising in the state. On Saturday, Florida set a record for new coronavirus cases in a single day—11,458. It is also the highest number of new cases ever recorded in the entire country since the outbreak began. The following day, the state surpassed 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases overall.