Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) echoed a controversial comparison when pushing for children to return to school in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During his press conference on Wednesday, DeSantis referred to remarks he said were made to him by Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord, which compared reopening schools to a Navy SEAL operation.
“Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord told me she viewed re-opening her schools as a mission akin to a Navy SEAL operation,” DeSantis said.
He continued, “Just as the SEALs surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, so too would the Martin County School system find a way to provide parents with a meaningful choice of in-person instruction or continued distance learning.”
See DeSantis’ comments below:
.@GovRonDeSantis begins a statewide address with a comparison between schools reopening in Martin County and the Navy Seal raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.— Kirby Wilson (@KirbyWTweets) August 12, 2020
Said school reopening will require the same kind of commitment as that mission.
This is what the governor said: pic.twitter.com/Ok84Nu7pK4— Kirby Wilson (@KirbyWTweets) August 12, 2020
In July, Florida was among a few other states who became a new epicenter for COVID-19, as daily confirmed cases increased. Since late-July, the state has seen mostly a decrease in cases.
Schools in Florida are preparing to kick off the school year, and under an executive order, they are required to have five days a week of in-person learning —or face losing money, according to The Wall Street Journal.
However, one county in the Tampa area in particular decided to postpone the start of the school year by four weeks as it has a high positivity rate. This decision, though, reportedly violated the executive order and now the board is being faced with the decision of what to do.
“Last Thursday, our school board made an informed decision after hearing from the local public health authority and local infectious-disease experts,” Tanya Arja, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough school district, said. “The panel was asked if we should open our doors and not one medical professional could recommend opening today. The state’s order goes on to say the day-to-day decision to open or close a school always rests locally.”
According to The Washington Post, roughly half a dozen of Florida’s counties have come up with a plan to go the route of remote learning, but DeSantis has only approved a few counties to do so.