FOX 35 EXCLUSIVE: Pediatricians send Florida governor letter expressing concerns over schools reopening

The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) penned a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis. 

“Our biggest concern is the safety of the children, the families, the teachers and the staff in schools,” Dr. D. Paul Robinson told FOX 35 News. “What we’re concerned about is that we know that if we start schools when there is a high infection rate is that more people are going to get infected and that more schools are going to shut down within just a few weeks,” Dr. Robinson said.

In the letter from FCAAP’s Executive Board, Dr. Robinson called out Florida’s education commission for the way he quoted their board saying, “children do best when they are in schools.” 

“As you and I both know people sometimes stop reading at the end of that first paragraph. And what I was trying to point out in the letter is there was more,” Dr. Robinson said.

He emphasized that children do best when they are in schools only in situations in which children can safely go to school. 

“I think no one, at least in medicine, believes that it’s safe to go back if we have rolling average of 14.6 percent in the state,” Dr. Robinson said.

He added that FCAAP’s infectious disease experts believe the rolling average of positive new COVID-19 tests should be between 3 percent and 5 percent over a rolling average before kids go back to learning in classrooms five days a week. FOX 35 News asked why the 14 days is so important. 

“Because it gives you a broader view in time, it’s not just one place in time for one day,” Dr. Robinson explained.

FCAAP also sent letters to members of Congress representing the state of Florida. Dr. Robinson said they’re asking these state representatives to request more money from the federal government to get schools ready for when students do go back to classrooms amid this pandemic. 

“As far as I can tell there have not been funds released to do that and it’s going to cost a lot of money to get the classrooms ready, to do social distancing to use more classrooms for busses, etc,” Dr. Robinson said. 

Dr. Robinson said there are a handful of school districts in the state where he believes the rolling two-week averages of positive COVID-19 tests in the range where it would be appropriate for schools to re-open.