If you can do childcare, you can do schools.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, after an educational roundtable in Clearwater, said success at childcare facilities during the pandemic augured well for school reopening.
The Governor has continued to insist on in-person instruction throughout the state. Critics worry schools would be vectors for spread.
“There’s no evidence that having child care open this entire time has been a driver of community spread,” the Governor said in response to a reporter’s question. “That’s different from saying there may be an isolated case or something, and I would have no way to definitively say that nobody in any child care setting, a caregiver has ever come down with it.”
“I would say clearly it has not been a driver of community [transmission],” the Governor added.
“The health of the kids are, is paramount. I think we’ve known from early on that, for whatever reason, kids are lower risk than senior citizens, even people in their 50s and 60s.”
The Governor noted that while it’s a concern that schools potentially could be a “petri dish,” Florida’s experience is that “it’s not been shown to be a driver of community spread.”
“I think that’s something that’s very, very important,” he said.
DeSantis argued that in Scandinavia, Norway closed its schools and Sweden did not, and there was effectively no difference in virus transmission because of those decisions.
“I think they actually looked at it in New York City at the height. Because they did have childcare open too. They had to! I think even in New York City that was determined it didn’t accelerate the community outbreak,” DeSantis said.
The Governor has repeatedly contended young people don’t face the existential risks that older people do from the coronavirus.
However, as we reported Wednesday, pediatricians have noted dangers when brick and mortar schools reopen.
“The benefits must outweigh the risks,” asserts the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a white paper provided to Florida’s school superintendents.
The paper contends high-risk students face health hazards, that up to 12% of young people exposed to the virus face severe consequences potentially, and that older students have the potential to bring the virus home from schools.