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As schools move online, so does child abuse education

School closures increase the risk of abuse, foundation says.

Florida K-12 students are getting their education online through at least mid-April. Now, anti-bullying and abuse-awareness education is making the transition, too.

The Monique Burr Foundation announced Monday that it would offer its curriculum over the internet for the remainder of the school year.

“While MBF Prevention Education Programs were developed to be presented in person, during this extraordinary time, MBF is allowing live-streamed or recorded presentations of lessons through the end of the 19-20 school year to ensure youth receive this critical safety instruction,” the foundation announced on Twitter.

MBF offers courses on abuse, cyberbullying, exploitation, trafficking, digital abuse, and other digital dangers children face.

The curriculum provides children and adults information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond to abuse.

MBF’s decision comes a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis directed all Florida public schools to close their doors and move classes online through April 15 in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

While the policy could help “flatten the curve” in new COVID-19 cases, MBF said at-home education will have some negative side effects.

“Measures to reduce the spread of #COVID19, including remote learning, will increase the risk of abuse, maltreatment, neglect, and exploitation for many children,” the foundation tweeted.

On Monday morning, the Florida Department of Health announced that there were 1,171 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. The global pandemic has claimed 14 lives in the state.

In addition to school closures, DeSantis has ordered all bars to close and has restricted restaurants to delivery and carryout service only. Additionally, all state parks and some beaches have been shut down.

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