In light of CDC guidelines that stated that schools could be reopened, Florida responded that they would stick to their own guidance which has allowed them to have kids in schools for months.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran pointed out that schools in his state have been open, successfully, since August, and would continue to remain open and would continue to remain open regardless of CDC guidance, according to local news.
Corcoran's statement read: "Since Summer 2020, Florida school districts, superintendents, public charter schools, private schools, educators, students and families have worked hard and have done an incredible job ensuring Florida students can continue to receive a world class education in-person, every day.
"CDC guidance is informative, although Florida school districts, public charter schools and private schools should stay the course they began in Summer 2020. The science has been clear since August, and subsequent studies and data since then show that schools are safe to reopen."
The CDC's guidance on hand-washing, face mask wearing, and social distancing comes six months after Florida opened their schools, and almost a year after so many school districts closed down and have yet to open.
The data from Florida show that there are some schools that have only had a single case of COVID since August, and a few that have had over 100 cases. The CDC has said that in-person learning does not drive infection rates.
Florida's Orange County will see summer schools open for five days per week, which the district counselor said was "because of extensive learning loss over the past 11 months."
Dr. Maria Vasquez, Orange County Public Schools superintendent, said on Thursday that “An expanded comprehensive summer school program will be conducted at each of our Orange County Public Schools, to help strengthen academic performance for students that have experienced learning loss through the pandemic."
CDC guidance was that elementary schools can be open no matter what the level of community COVID transmission is, so long as they engage in face masks, social distancing, and take active hygiene measures.
Middle and high schools can be open except where community COVID transmission high, meaning a 10 percent positive COVID test rate over a period of seven days, or where there are 100 cases for every 100,000 people over the same period of time. The CDC recommends weekly testing of students and staff for these grade levels, and that school attendance reduction, where kids alternate who learns in class and who learns remotely.
Many say that the CDC did not go far enough in getting school open, kids back to class, and teachers back to work. And the CDC did not have answers for what the effect on a generation will be of a year without schooling. The science on that is yet to be released.
Florida's Governor Ron De Santis has been one of a few governors in the country that has kept his state open for business.