Top education officials talk schools amid pandemic

Two education leaders visited Florida Virtual School in Orlando to talk about education during a pandemic.

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran came together for an education roundtable discussion on Monday.

“You see with us being open now for eight weeks, it’s been a wide success,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran believes returning to the classroom was the right decision for Florida, but we asked about the coronavirus outbreaks we've seen, shuttering schools around the state.

“They all happen off-campus, not on campus. They all happen off-campus, mostly with adults. And if they happen in children, it’s at the encouragement or leadership of adults, encouraging those kids to engage in a behavior and then it comes back into the schools,” Corcoran said.

The commissioner says a school campus is a safe environment. He says adults, presumably parents, are to blame for the outbreaks.

“We need adults to be leaders. We need adults to recognize those things that we’re doing in the school and to do those outside the school system,” Corcoran said.

With rising COVID-19 cases around the country, FOX 35 asked the secretary of education if she would support closing schools once again.

“We have got to measure the health benefits of kids being in class, learning, advancing their academic health,” DeVos said. “There are many measures of health for a student and we have got to factor those all in.”

She says Florida is proof that schools can stay open during a pandemic.

“We know that it can be done safely, it can be done well and it’s being done well here in Florida, and I’ve visited many other states across the country doing it well and I believe will continue to,” DeVos said.

Corcoran says the state is now working on a new emergency order for school districts. That’s expected by the end of November.