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DeSantis Makes It Official: Florida Kids Won't Return To Classrooms This School Year

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday that Florida K-12 public school students would not return to the classroom this school year.
screenshot Florida Channel
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday that students in Florida public schools will not be returning to their physical campuses this school year.

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"We spoke with a lot of folks throughout the state. There were some differing opinions," he said. "Some parents were not interested in their kids going back. Some others, it's been tough around the house [and] they would have liked to have seen them go back."

DeSantis said it had become "obvious" that the classrooms would not re-open in early May so the students would only have gotten a couple weeks in at most.

"Academically would there have been a huge benefit? I think most people thought not," DeSantis said.

"The last thing you want to do is force everyone in school and then have half the kids not show up because their parents didn't want to do it, have teachers not want to do it," he said. "It was an easier decision for me to make, knowing that we've done so well with the distance learning."

Participation varies by district and within districts — and schools with high numbers of students from low-income or immigrant families have struggled.

DeSantis said even though they won't be in classes together, he hopes students will be able to have some real world contact with each other.

"A lot of our kids haven't seen friends for awhile. So this has had a social cost to it and I want to figure out a way to overcome that," he said. "I think in the next phase, kids will have more to do."

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Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.