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DeSantis Downplays Virus Spread Among Children After Florida Teachers Union Sues Him

DeSantis Downplays Virus Spread Among Children After Florida Teachers Union Sues Him

A group of protesters disrupted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ news conference in Orlando on Monday.

The protesters chanted, “You’re lying to the public” and “shame on you,” as DeSantis was speaking.

The demonstrators had several complaints including a request to defund the state’s police department.

“We will not be defunding the police. Don’t worry about that,” DeSantis said as deputies escorted some of the protesters outside the building.

Once outside, the protesters banged on windows and shouted for several minutes, requiring the speakers to talk loudly over them.

DeSantis was at OneBlood to encourage people who had been infected with the virus and recovered to donate blood plasma that can be used in the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Florida reported another 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the 12th day since the Fourth of July the number has topped that threshold.

The state Department of Health reported 10,347 new cases and 90 deaths.

That brings the state’s totals for the entire pandemic to more than 360,000 cases and over 5,100 deaths.

Critics have complained that Gov. Ron DeSantis has not mandated a statewide mask ordinance as cases rise.

The governor has repeatedly said policies in hard-hit South Florida might not make sense in the Panhandle, where the infection rate is lower.

His fellow Republicans increasingly acknowledge the need for a unified, nonpartisan message.

The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit Monday to block what it called the “reckless and unsafe reopening” of public school campuses for face-to-face instruction.

They say that doing so would put students and school employees at risk — as well as accelerate the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking at the blood center in Orlando, DeSantis said parents should be given a choice as to what is the best option for their children, whether virtual-learning, in-class schooling or a combination of the two.

Schools also need to make health accommodations for employees too if they are high risk, the governor said.

“Parents need to choose the best environment for their students, their kids,” the Republican governor said. “If a teacher doesn’t feel comfortable there … I think they should be given as many options as possible.”

When asked about a Department of Education order requiring brick-and-mortar schools to reopen, DeSantis distanced himself from it.

“I didn’t give any executive order. That was the Department of Education,” DeSantis said.

“Obviously, if you look at the epidemic, it’s more severe in some parts than others, and I think you should recognize that.”

Later on Monday, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran suggested that the state’s emergency order merely restates current law that requires schools to “operate 180 days” a school year.

Corcoran, a former state House speaker, works for the governor.

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