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Florida students no longer required to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure, Gov. DeSantis announces

When the school year began, districts required students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom to quarantine for at least four days.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Students who are exposed to COVID-19 in Florida's schools will no longer have to quarantine if they are asymptomatic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement, which he called "overdue," during a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Kissimmee. Joining the governor was Dr. Joe Ladapo, the newly named Florida surgeon general and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

"One of the things that parents have most been concerned about have been policies that would quarantine dozens and dozens of healthy students if there was one positive test in a particular classroom," Gov. DeSantis said. "That was incredibly disruptive to kids' education."

When the school year began, districts required students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom to quarantine for at least four days.

With the new rule, if a student has been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom, parents will be allowed to decide whether they want their child to quarantine or return to school as long as they do not show symptoms of COVID-19.

The new rule does not affect students who test positive for COVID-19.

Gov. DeSantis said difficulties to both students and parents as the reasoning for the new rule. He also cited European studies advising a "symptom-based approach" to quarantine.

"Parents have a right to have their healthy kids in school, and I think the Europeans recognized that," DeSantis said. "Basically, they are treating this as they would treat normal respiratory viruses."

"Schools are not driving this epidemic," the governor added. 

New Surgeon General Dr. Joe Ladapo added the decision was about weighing cost and benefits.

"There is no high-quality data about benefits," Ladapo said concerning the quarantining of students. "There have been several studies that show when kids are kept out of school, taken out of school, it's extremely harmful."

"It's not a sensible policy, so we're not going to do it," he added.

At the end of the press conference, DeSantis answered a few questions from the gathered press members. When asked about the new proposed fetal heartbeat bill, DeSantis did not say whether he supported the bill but said his record was "100% pro-life."

   

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