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During a Tuesday press conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis, a Republican, highlighted the societal stress felt by young people throughout the state and claimed closing learning institutions would only serve to exacerbate the pressure.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s in Asia, Europe, the United States — all across the Sun Belt, all across other parts of our country, we’ve seen that having in-person instruction is vital and it’s something that needs to continue,” he began. “Going forward, whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table.”
He said closing schools in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can damage the physical, mental and social well-being of young people.
“Let’s not repeat any mistakes of the past,” he said.
DeSantis also saluted private and charter schools for pressing forward with teaching their curriculum in person, while knocking public teachers’ unions for playing politics with COVID-19, in an effort to keep classrooms closed.
“A lot of our charters really led the way,” he said.
He said the unions’ attempt to keep public schools closed was to make sure students were kept out of schools.
“And they were wrong,” the governor said.
The governor’s remarks come more than a week after DeSantis made an appearance on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty and Levin,” to discuss his COVID-19 policies, and why he pushed for a phased reopening while choosing not to issue a statewide mask mandate.
“You can’t kneecap your own society and think you’re going to successfully handle a pandemic,” he said. “I think this is really important, we wanted society to function. You can’t burn down the village in order to save it.”
He said Florida is open for business.
“We have everything — like theme parks, all that have been open for months,” DeSantis continued. “And we have kids in school in person. Parents have the option to opt for virtual [learning] if they want, but they have the in-person [option], which is very, very important.”