TALLAHASSEE – With the debate over reopening Florida’s schools to in-person instruction reaching a fever pitch, Florida Watch today released a video holding Gov. Ron DeSantis accountable for his Trump-driven handling of the issue.
“As the coronavirus rages across Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is parroting Donald Trump’s calls for students and teachers to return to school without proper funding or safety measures,” the video begins. “Floridians were stunned and confused when the DeSantis administration ordered our schools to reopen for in-person classes despite Florida being a worldwide hotspot for COVID-19.”
Earlier this week, Florida’s largest teachers union sued the governor, citing the state constitution’s mandate to provide a “safe, secure” environment for students. Already, at least 16,797 children have contracted COVID-19 in Florida. Wednesday afternoon, Gov. DeSantis reiterated his desire to reopen schools but provided no details on what precautions would be taken to limit further spread of the disease.
“We want schools to open, but as a parent of school-age kids, I consider it the height of insanity to reopen schools while this virus is surging across our state,” said Lisa Perry, director of the Common Ground Project.
The video highlights how the Trump Administration’s own health officials at the CDC have categorized in-person school activities among the highest risk for spreading the deadly disease. “DeSantis seems unwilling to acknowledge that reality, and how wrong he was about the state’s battle against the virus,” continues the video narrator.
“Gov. DeSantis needs to grow a spine and quit kowtowing to President Trump,” said Lisa Zayas, Latinx outreach director for Florida Watch and mother of school-age children. “His reckless response to the coronavirus has already resulted in thousands of dead Floridians, and now he is putting the lives of our kids and our teachers at risk.”
Florida Watch plans to push the video out across various online and social media platforms. The video ends by urging viewers to call Gov. DeSantis “and tell him to stop pandering to Trump and playing politics with the health of our children, teachers, and families.”
Florida Watch is a progressive digital first organization that meets people where they are in real life – on their phones and computers.
The Common Ground Project works to improve the lives of all Floridians by advocating for issues that allow communities to focus on their commonalities over their differences, build broad consensus, and create lasting change.