Florida governor compares schools reopening to killing bin Laden

Matt Mathers
·3 mins read
Some Republicans have touted DeSantis as a future presidential candidate: Getty Images
Some Republicans have touted DeSantis as a future presidential candidate: Getty Images

Governor Ron DeSantis has compared the reopening of schools in Florida to the operation that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Mr DeSantis, an attorney and former naval officer, likened the logistics behind schools reopening to a Navy SEALs operation.

“Just as the SEALs surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, so too will the Martin County school system,” Mr DeSantis said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“[We will] find a way to provide a meaningful choice of in-person instruction or continued distance learning — all in, all the time,” DeSantis added.

The governor, whom some Republicans have touted as a future presidential candidate, had been attempting to reassure parents it is safe for children to return to school amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

His comments came after Florida earlier this week reported a surge in new infections. Officials claimed the rise was the result of old testing data dating back to June.

“The data was stale. It was not indicative of current trends, much less a, quote, ‘record day of fresh infections in Miami,’” DeSantis said of the figures.

“Stale test results shouldn’t be used by policymakers to determine the way forward for students, parents, workers and businesses in the here and now,” he added.

Several schools welcomed students back on Monday, with more set to follow suit as the month progresses.

Florida is among some of the states hardest hit by the virus, with over 550,000 confirmed cases in total. Almost 8,000 of those have been recorded in the past 24 hours, official figures show.

The reopening of schools in Florida has been a hotly contested issue as coronavirus infections continue to surge. Last week, a teacher wrote her own obituary and posted it to Facebook in protest at the reopening plans.

Meanwhile, several employees at a school in Manatee County are quarantining for 14 days after being exposed to the coronavirus on campus, the school’s principal said in a message to families whose children are starting school next week.

“We were alerted today that we had a confirmed case of COVID-19 on our campus,” Carl Auckerman’s Wednesday evening email to Palmetto High School parents said.

Using contact tracing, the Manatee County school district and the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County found that “a number of school employees” had direct exposure to the infected person, the Bradenton Herald reported.

“Direct exposure” means someone was within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, according to the district’s guidance, which follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It was unclear how many people were sent home on Wednesday, the newspaper reported. The email said the “individual associated with the confirmed case is also isolated according to district protocols.”

He said the area of the campus where the person works will be “fogged and sanitized” on Thursday and employees who did not have direct contact will also return to work.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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