MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida’s new surgeon general has enacted a new rule giving parents the control when it comes to when their student has been exposed to COVID-19.
Under previous guidelines in Florida, students who were exposed to COVID-19 had to quarantine. If the student was asymptomatic, they were allowed to return to school if they showed a negative test that was taken four days after they were exposed. They could also return after seven days if they continued to be asymptomatic.
However, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who was appointed as the new state Surgeon General on Tuesday, put into effect a rule that allows parents and guardians to choose if their child quarantines if they are asymptomatic.
“One of the things that the parents have been most concerned about have been policies that would quarantine dozens and dozens of healthy students if there was one positive test in a particular classroom,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday.
There’s another source of conflict Wednesday between the state of Florida and school districts around the state: When should students stay home to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread?
A new state rule said parents whose kids are exposed and are asymptomatic should decide if they should stay home.
“If someone’s exposed, not an automatic quarantine,” DeSantis said. “If somebody is symptomatic, of course, they stay home.”
Miami-Dade and Broward both continue to follow the previous guidelines. Exposed asymptomatic students stay home for four days.
The newly-appointed surgeon general said that can cause other problems for parents.
“It’s a disruption that it creates when they’ve gotta figure out how to sort of reorganize things. We will consider costs and benefits, and it’s not a sensible policy, so we’re not gonna do it,” Ladapo said.
Broward County School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood said that’s why the district has insisted on a mask mandate, to keep students from having to quarantine.
“We are in conversation with our legal team about that language to see what this actually means because again, we continue to have these things imposed upon local school districts who are elected by the local citizenry to put these policies in place,” Osgood said.
Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the district will look at the policy and see if they can reach a mutual agreement with the state.
“We are reviewing the rule, exploring our options, and then we will have a very direct conversation with the state regarding that provision,” Carvalho said.
“I think the surgeon general, I think the local schools need to make their own decisions and follow CDC guidelines,” said Senator Lauren Book.
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