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."