Florida orders all schools to open next month despite surging COVID-19 cases

Florida's government has ordered all public schools to reopen for in-person instruction in the fall and laid out requirements schools must meet if they wish to provide remote learning.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Monday that the edict was issued by the state's education commissioner, Richard Corcoran. Local health officials can override his decision based on the rate of new coronavirus cases in their counties.

“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," Corocoran said, according to the newspaper.

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His directive comes as the state surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases. A single-day record of more than 11,000 was reported on Saturday.

Education Department officials told the newspaper schools should not be singled out if other public spaces were reopened.

“Logically, I don’t think they could say schools aren’t safe if they are allowing people to be out in public,” a Department of Education spokesperson told the newspaper.

“If locally they are not able to open, we will work with districts on the continuation of their Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP) or determining alternative options,” the spokesperson added.