Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday assailed plans by some local districts to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week and said schools must be “fully operational” even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Anything less, she says, would fail students and taxpayers.
DeVos made the comments during a call with governors as the Trump administration launched an all-out effort to get schools and colleges to reopen. Audio of the call was obtained by The Associated Press.
“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” DeVos told governors.
Florida, the new US hotspot for coronavirus, will require schools to reopen in August.
The state’s Commissioner of the Department of Education, Richard Corcoran, issued an emergency order on Monday requiring all “brick and mortar schools” to open “at least five days per week for all students.”
Florida, which initially avoided the worst of the pandemic in its first few months, now has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the US at 206,000 and counting.
Under the order, schools must reopen in full to “ensure the quality and continuity of the educational process, the comprehensive wellbeing of students and families and a return to Florida hitting its full economic stride.”
* The Question: Should Gov. Pritzker mandate that all K-12 schools fully reopen on schedule, regardless of local school board opinions? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…
* ‘Nobody should hide behind CDC’s guidance’ to avoid reopening schools, Azar says
* Face masks in school likely to be mandatory, so it is time kids get used to them now: officials
* Teachers have their own concerns as District 186 grapples with in-person learning