STATEWIDE — In little more than a month, students around Florida will head back to the classroom, following a state order that districts must reopen brick-and-mortar schools.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida has mandated that schools open their doors in the fall

  • Trump threatens to withhold federal funding, doesn't say how

  • National Teachers Association voices concerns about reopening

President Donald Trump is throwing his support behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and putting pressure on school leaders around the country to open up.  

“It’s very important for the well being of the student and the parents. So, we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on — open your schools in the fall,” Trump said.

Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding if schools don’t reopen in the fall, and he lashed out at federal health officials over school reopening guidelines that he says are impractical and expensive.

Taking to Twitter to voice his frustration, Trump argued that countries including Germany, Denmark, and Norway have reopened schools “with no problems.” The Republican president also repeated his claim that Democrats want to keep schools closed for political reasons and not because of any risks associated with the coronavirus.

He did not immediately say what funding he would cut off or under what authority.

The Florida Department of Education mandate gives families the option to continue virtual education if needed and leaves some room for school leaders to make decisions based on the pandemic situation in their specific district.   

DeSantis said that although cases in Florida are spiking, the state is in a better place than in March to deal with the cases.    

“We obviously want to... get over this wave as soon as possible. We have the tools in place to be able to deal with it,” DeSantis said. 

Some school districts have already released their preliminary plans for reopening classrooms in the fall. Some are considering daily temperature checks at school entrances and bus stops, requiring staff to get COVID-19 testing, and face coverings for students.   

However, even with all of the precautions, the National Education Association said many teachers are panicking, and maintained that it's not safe to open up classrooms in the fall.

“There is no infectious disease expert, and that includes pediatricians, that said we have to consider the mental health of children. Of course, we do — but they didn’t say at the expense of their physical health,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said. 

"CTA will not support a reopening plan that could expose students, teachers or their families to illness, hospitalization or death," a statement from the teachers union in Orange County said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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