A Republican Senator from Florida believes a “cost-benefit analysis” shows that schools must reopen, but with safety precautions.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio addressed the topic Monday morning on CNBC Squawk Box.
“Florida’s an enormous state,” Rubio said, noting that in “many counties,” such as Northwest Florida, “the vast majority of counties could reopen.”
“In others, we’re going to have to take additional measures to reopen schools,” Rubio added. “We need to be flexible about all sorts of things. It isn’t going to be school as you are used to in normal times.”
“At some point you’ve got to make those decisions on a cost-benefit analysis … the costs of not reopening our schools are extraordinary, in terms of learning loss, in terms of not being able to open the rest of the economy.”
“What is a parent who is being required to work supposed to do with a 9 year old? Leave him in front of the computer all day doing school work,” Rubio asked, seemingly rhetorically.
“We have to mitigate risk here,” Rubio added.
The Senator’s comments came after moves from the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration to return to normalcy in the sphere of K-12 education.
“I’m confident if you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools,” he said Thursday in Jacksonville.
Though parents and classroom teachers and staff may disagree with that, an order from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran requires schools to reopen in the fall for five days a week, offering full services as was the case before coronavirus struck in March.
On Saturday, the Governor continued to outline his thinking on the subject.
“Most businesses still operated, you had most of them across the state of Florida, you had things that operated every day,” the Governor said. “I think in terms of if you look at things that are the most essential, to me, education is as high amongst them as I can fathom. It’s very, very important.”
The logisitics of reopening, notes the superintendent in Rubio’s home county, are “difficult to achieve,” but not impossible.
Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday and said that social distancing in South Florida schools presented particular problems.
“But there are mitigation strategies that you can take in lieu of the six-feet of distancing like the wearing of masks, which will be a mandatory element when we do reopen, like the use of non-traditional spaces, like cafeterias or media centers or gymnasiums,” Carvalho added.