Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says parents and legal guardians should decide whether to send their children to school or not, even if they have been exposed to COVID-19, per CNN.
Dr. Joe Ladapo, the state's new surgeon general and Department of Health secretary, has revised some policies to quarantining students. Officials are taking a "symptom-based approach" to the rules after multiple Florida school districts reported thousands of students in isolation or quarantine.
If a student doesn't show symptoms after exposure, the child "has a right to be in school," the Republican governor claims.
"If somebody is symptomatic, of course, they stay home. If there's a close contact, but somebody has not developed any symptoms -- you monitor them, you notify the parent," DeSantis said Wednesday (September 22). "The parent always has the right to have their kids stay home, if they think that's in the best interest of the student and the family 100 percent, we would not want to intrude on that."
Health experts are alarmed by the decision because that means asymptomatic students could be coming to school. Asymptomatic means you're not showing symptoms of a disease, but you could pass it on to others.
DeSantis claims keeping healthy students quarantined is "incredibly damaging for their learning and disruptive to families.
Multiple school officials have criticized the move, some being left shocked.
Broward County School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood agrees that students need to be in the classroom, but she reinforces the need to quarantine asymptomatic students.
"If we have individuals that are COVID-19 positive, even if they’re asymptomatic and they begin to give the coronavirus to other people in the school, it’s going to cause even great disruption," she told Local 10.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you quarantine for 10 days if you have been exposed to coronavirus, whether you are showing symptoms or not. They even recommend this for fully vaccinated individuals.