Florida Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics sends letter to DeSantis
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Posted by: Elissa Rodrigues
(WEAR) – A letter was sent to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asking him to reconsider the order requiring brick and mortar schools to reopen in August.
The letter was sent by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) Thursday. The FCAAP represents the 2,600 pediatricians in the state.
In the letter, FCAAP President D. Paul Robinson writes DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran quote the AAP’s statement “children do best when they are in school” as the reasoning for the reopening. He says the AAP meant that statement “only in situations in which children can safely go to school.”
Robinson adds that currently, the viral infection rates in Florida are “extremely high with a rolling average of 14.2 percent of tests positive for new infections over the past two weeks,” citing the data from the state’s department of health.
The FCAAP says if children go to school with such high infection rates, schools will be forced to close quickly after reopening, and many children and families will likely become ill with coronavirus, also referred to as SARS-CoV-2.
Robinson writes the FCAAP believes that each school district in the state should be given the choice to decide when and how they reopen in-person learning based on COVID-19 impact in the community.
When it is safe to reopen schools the FCAAP is available to give guidance to superintendents, if they are interested. A “white paper” will be available to those superintendents who want to see it within the next week.
DeSantis held a press conference at Flagler Hospital Saturday in St. Augustine regarding COVID-19 and health concerns from the state. When asked on his response to the letter, he says he has not been able to review it just yet but commented on the transmissibility between younger students.
“I haven’t had a chance to review it yet, but I know that the general view of pediatricians is that the kids should be in school. Obviously, there’s a lot that goes along with that, but particularly I would say that the primary school kids. If you look at that, the evidence in terms of that, you obviously know low-risk for the illness, but their transmissibility, there’s very little transmissibility from the primary school [kids] to adults.”
The governor added if his kids were the age to attend school, having them return would not be a concern of his.
“As a father of three young kids, I do not fear this virus’ affect on my kids. I think the risk is incredibly low. I fear way more things in terms of their health and safety, but I would not have any problem having them in school if they were, they’re not school-aged, but if they were I would absolutely do that and I think it would be safe for them."
Florida added over 10,000 new cases Saturday bringing the state's total to 337,568.