Gov. Ron DeSantis says he would have ‘zero concern’ sending his own kids back to school

ron DeSantis
"The numbers speak for themselves.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his controversial decision to send students back to school this August by telling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that he would have “zero concern” sending his own kids back into a classroom.

“My kids aren’t school-age yet,” DeSantis said. “I got a 3-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, and a newborn daughter. And I can tell you if they were school-age, I would have zero concern sending them.”

The remark came Wednesday during an interview on the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show. There, DeSantis detailed his rationale for reopening schools despite the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Florida.

“With respect to the schools,” DeSantis said. “Walmart, essential service. Home Depot, essential service. Fast food, essential service. “How is it that the schools for our kids would not be considered an essential service? And I think it’s vital. I think that they’ve fallen way behind.”

The interview came two days after Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered public schools to reopen in August and offer “the full panoply of services” to students and families.

DeSantis offered a ray of light onto the ambiguous phrase “the full panoply of services” with Limbaugh.

“I want our high school athletes to be able to play football and do all these other things,” DeSantis said. “It’s very, very important, and I think that the data is clear. CDC’s been very clear on this. Under 18, your chance of being hospitalized by coronavirus is far, far less, for influenza and deaths, far less. And if you have no underlying condition, it probably is as close to zero as you can get.”

From national and local media to a plaza-level war-of-words between him and Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, DeSantis has taken heavy criticism for his unwavering commitment to reopening the Sunshine State.

In his mind, however, reopening schools is supported by science and past decisions from the European Union.

“All of the European Union countries have come to this conclusion, that the kids aren’t vectors of transmission,” DeSantis said, adding: “So we have to look at the facts, the data, the science, and then we need to be governed by that rather than politics or emotion.”

DeSantis attributed the criticism, in part, to fearmongering perpetuated by the media for “political reasons.”

“One of the things that the media is doing in Florida is they’re going around saying there are all these counties that have no ICU capacity, which was actually a grain of truth,” DeSantis said. “Cause we have a lot of rural counties that don’t have ICUs at all. So if somebody needs that type of care, they go to one of the bigger medical systems in the state. So a lot of this is being put out, I think, to scare people. It’s not productive. And look, if they’re using it for political reasons ’cause they don’t like Republican governors.”

He also called into question the viewpoint of today’s public health experts.

“Here we’re in a situation where we know the data is so clear about who is the at-risk population and who is very low risk. And so you’re exactly right,” DeSantis told Limbaugh. “Society needs to function. And, you know, that used to be the standard view among people who were considered public health experts, that you want society to function. Shutting down is not gonna help things. It creates all kind of other problems, and we gotta keep society going.”

DeSantis’s ‘Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step’ reopening plan has called for a triage-like approach to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor has contended, even from the earliest days, that the old and those with underlying health problems are most vulnerable for serious illness or fatality.

A hyper-focus on protecting the elderly and vulnerable is the cornerstone of his plan.

“Part of the reason we have a lower fatality rate in Florida is [that] we really focused on protecting those people who are most vulnerable to the virus, such as our senior citizens living in long-term care facilities,” DeSantis said. “We barred hospitals from sending the sick coronavirus patients back into nursing homes ’cause we knew it would lead to spread and more death among the most vulnerable population. And if you compare us to states that did the opposite where they forced them back in, you know, the numbers speak for themselves.”

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • S.B. Anthony

    July 9, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    “I got a 3-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, and a newborn daughter. And I can tell you if they were school-age, I would have zero concern sending them.”

    big talker, when you don’t have to actually make that decision

    such a clown

    • Philip Arvantis

      July 10, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Hey Mr. DeSantis. Why don’t you do a “canary in the coalmine” experiment, and YOU spend eight hours a day in an enclosed area, with 20 or so other people?

    • jon

      July 10, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      What part of the statistics of this virus do you NOT understand! We have the data now. The data says it is now worse than the typical flu! Just like the flu, elderly and health compromise citizens should do more to avoid exposure! Since when in history has the healthy quarantined themselves? NEVER!

    • PrayHard2020

      July 14, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Have the governor send his 3 kids to public daycare all school year to prove his confidence. The people have to take responsibility since the politicians won’t. It’s really sad we have such ignorant leadership in the state and country.

      • James Boyer

        July 19, 2020 at 6:48 am

        Great reply. I just can’t stomach people that make decisions as if all of us. I am sure he has the income to send his kids to private schools.

        He needs to grow a pair and not be a damn puppet. Get this clown out now.

        Jim Boyer

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 9, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Duffus Desantis you are criminally negligent! The local School
    Boards are going to serve and protect the children! You, cockroach Corcoran and pervert Trump can stuff it!

  • Frankie M.

    July 9, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Walmart, essential service. Home Depot, essential service. Fast food, essential service. “How is it that the schools for our kids would not be considered an essential service? And I think it’s vital. I think that they’ve fallen…

    Idk maybe because we put a higher value on our children’s health than we do minimum wage workers? DuhSantis is full of more shite than my septic tank.

    • Phil

      July 9, 2020 at 11:37 pm

      Maybe because schools have 1000+ people packed into buildings in tight rooms with poor ventilation, for long stretches of time

      Maybe because there are hundreds of adults in a school in the form of teachers, principles, paraprofessionals, custodians, etc

      Maybe because those kids & employees all go home to moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, etc

      Not that DeSantis understands anything about how the disease is transmitted

      • jon

        July 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm

        Phil, wake up!What part of the statistics of this virus do you NOT understand! We have the data now. The data says it is no worse than the typical flu! Just like the flu, elderly and health compromise citizens should do more to avoid exposure! Since when in history has the healthy quarantined themselves? NEVER!

    • Frankie M.

      July 10, 2020 at 9:30 am

      I think Ronnie is confusing “essential” with “expendable”

  • Phil

    July 9, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Damn this guy is really dumb, just going off his broken grammar, not even getting into the poorly reasoned ideas he’s promoting.

    • John

      July 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      You are pathetic Phil!

  • BlueHeron

    July 10, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Since it’s already established that the Yale and Harvard paper on his wall has done nothing for him intellectually…

    He sounds so much like his mentor. The guy who lives in a big white house. Ron got the memo.

    Uses cherry-picked CDC info to prove his point about going back to school.
    Questions the science yet supports the science?
    Using the European Union as an example for open schools is terrifying. I guess he chooses to ignore the pretty flat curves in the EU and that maybe, just maybe that has something to do with their back to school efforts. We know he does look at out first wave curve which is up and to the right.
    I’m surprised he didn’t use Sweden as an example of what TO DO during a pandemic.

    Two more years of this guy.

    • Rob

      July 17, 2020 at 9:14 am

      When did he get his MD?
      Pay attention to facts of science. Its getting worse and kids are vectors of transmission. They are just younger versions biologically.
      If you want your kids as safe as can be forget about school until CV19 subsides or there are vaccines or real treatments available to anyone.
      Wear a mask …slow the spread. He won’t even issue a mandate for masks. That pretty well says it all.

  • martin

    July 10, 2020 at 7:50 am

    If you head over to the CDC website, you can spend a minute to look at the overall data.

    I will paste it here for convenience.

    Last year, we averaged 8k deaths per day. Putting us at just over 2.9 million deaths for the year.

    This year, we are averaging 8k deaths per day, putting us on path to have just over 2.9 million deaths per year.

    So “journalists” can use terms like ‘skyrocketing’ deaths, and ‘New Highs’ etc etc.

    But, the truth is actually right there for you to to see.

    We will have the same number of deaths with or without the ‘Pandemic’

    Those are facts. If you would like to refute the facts, please post official sources.

    • jon

      July 10, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      MARTIN…You will get crickets on this! These sheep spend every waking moment watching fake news! Where they do nothing but scream the world is on Covid fire! Clearly anyone that is remotely an independent thinker can do the math on this. We now have the statistics. This illness does not qualify as a pandemic and barely qualifies as an epidemic! Wile I don’t don’t condone masks, I would tell my 74 year old mother in law to limit exposure by staying home and venturing out if need be in the early hours of the day to avoid as much people as possible. Also, my son began college at FSU in the fall of 2019. We will be bringing back to FSU in August! Not concerned at all for him!

    • BlueHeron

      July 11, 2020 at 1:12 am

      Martin, I do need some clarification from you before I have a go, as a non-Scientist. Since this is all clear as a bell to you, I am assuming you are a Scientist of some sort.
      The link brings me to a vast amount of data with additional amounts of data once you dig deeper. All separated using various metrics.

      Are you merely referring to the colorful graph? All states or just Florida? All total deaths? Or COVID only? Time period? Calendar year 2019, then 2/1/2020 thru July 4, 2020. Weekly #’s or just the totals as they stand right now? Excess deaths? By sex/age only, right? Have the technical notes and other data been taken into account? Has the knowledge that the CDC data is not real time as can be seen in the colorful graph as well as in various technical notes been taken into account? Do you trust the CDC data?

      Since I believe the data we are receiving is somewhat confusing overall, have a look…
      * This is a main source of COVID only info
      Even the WH uses this data. Please be sure to have a look at “Note on case” and “Note on
      hospitalizations” (this one quite interesting).
      * Here is the CDC COVID tracker
      * Flu vs COVID
      * flu burden 2018-2019
      * estimated flu burden for 2019-2020
      * Good read

      It must be noted that Florida is among 2-3 states/territories that DO NOT report certain types of data so it skews some of the data.

    • Mark Lankford

      July 14, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      Yo Martin! Go back to the CDC website and take a second look; the month-by-month numbers for Jan 2017 to July 2020 show a peak from December through February of each year. But in 2020 the death rate didn’t drop off after February; it increased radically and is steadily increasing as summer comes on.

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 11, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Omg duffus Desantis has openly said he would allow his children to be used as suicide bait! Do it! Goptrump cult leader trump says do it!

  • Laura

    July 13, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    Most 3 year olds go to some sort of preschool program. So will his daughter be attending preschool or not?

  • Christine Black

    July 15, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    So easy to make a flip comment that he would have zero concern sending his own children when in fact he Isn’t in the position to have to make that choice. Perhaps he should take his children along with him while making rounds to his neighborhood schools for some politically motivated Photo ops. Would he feel comfortable with that?

Comments are closed.


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