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Our voices were heard: Campuses remain closed, safety comes first

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered public school campuses closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus crisis, and later directed that education should continue through distance learning. By mid-April, no decision had yet been made on whether campuses would reopen for any part of the 2019-2020 school year.

As Gov. DeSantis continued to consider the options for public schools, the Florida Education Association weighed in to express the thinking of many educators and parents. In a letter delivered to the governor on April 14, FEA President Fedrick Ingram called for schools to remain closed while distance learning continues for the remainder of the school year.

“As much as our students and educators want the opportunity to be back at our schools, returning prematurely will threaten the safety and wellbeing of all on campus,” the letter said in part. “The potential damage that could be done to families and entire communities from an outbreak of COVID-19 at even one school far outweighs the inconvenience of continuing distance learning for the rest of the school year.” 

Through social media, on editorial pages and in direct conversations with members, the FEA saw a strong upswell of support for our position. More than 37,000 people stepped up to sign FEA’s online petition. On April 18, Gov. DeSantis announced at a news conference that campuses would remain closed and education would continue online.

“The governor has heard the voices of those people who are concerned about our public schools and our children, and I thank him for his leadership decision,” President Ingram told the  Florida Politics Sunrise podcast on April 19.

The news media amplified our message to the governor and credited our voices with helping to bring about his final decision on schools. Here’s an overview of the media coverage mentioning our organization from the time the FEA letter was released to April 20.

AFTER THE LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR

Editorials and op-eds

End the suspense and pull the plug on reopening Florida classrooms this year | Editorial, Orlando Sentinel (04/16/2020)

Why Florida schools should remain closed this year | Editorial, Tampa Bay Times (04/17/2020)

Reopen schools this year? Bad idea, Gov. DeSantis, TC Palm (04/16/2020)

News articles

Florida teachers union wants schools closed for the semester, Associated Press/Education Week (04/14/2020)

Statewide FEA teacher’s union asks Gov. DeSantis to close schools for the rest of the academic year, Florida Phoenix (04/14/2020)

Florida Education Associations Calls On Gov. Ron DeSantis To Keep Schools Closed For Semester, CBS 4 Miami + 10 other publications (04/14/2020)

Here’s when President Trump wants to reopen some businesses, Click Orlando (04/14/2020)

DeSantis announces task force to look at reopening state, WINK CBS Ft. Myers (04/14/2020)

Florida teachers union wants schools closed for the semester, WESH NBC Orlando (04/14/2020)

Last Call for 4.14.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics, Florida Politics (04/14/2020)

Florida teachers union wants schools closed for the semester, Jackson County Floridan (04/14/2020)

President of Florida teacher’s union urges Gov. DeSantis to close schools for the remainder of school year, WFLA NBC Ch. 8 Tampa (04/14/2020)

Coronavirus: Volusia superintendent predicts longer school closures, adjusts learning plans, Daytona Beach News Journal (04/14/2020)

Should Florida schools stay closed? More than 25,000 people who signed this petition say ‘yes’, WTSP Ch.10 Tampa-St. Petersburg (04/14/2020)

Florida’s teachers union: Keep schools closed through end of academic year, Orlando Sentinel (04/14/2020)

Keep Florida campuses closed until school year ends, teachers union urges DeSantis, Tampa Bay Times (04/14/2020)

Teachers’ Union Urges DeSantis To Keep Classrooms Closed, WUSF Tampa (04/14/2020) 

Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Deaths Pass 500; Teachers Urge School Stay Closed, And More, WUSF Tampa (04/14/2020)

La Asociación de Educación de Florida pide continuar con los planteles cerrados hasta el final del año escolar, Miami Diario (04/14/2020)

Maestros Piden al Gobernador de Florida Mantener Cerradas las Escuelas, Noticias Ya/Entravision (04/14/2020)

Will Ron DeSantis listen and keep the schools closed? A roundup of Florida education stories from around the state. Tampa Bay Times (04/15/2020)

Florida coronavirus update for Wednesday: Outbreak’s deadliest day brings 72 fatalities, including 5 more in Orange, Orlando Sentinel (04/15/2020)

6 Things to Know – Heat Worries Drive-Thru Site Workers, State’s Teachers Want Campuses Closed, NBC 6 (04/15/2020)

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.15.20, Florida Politics (04/15/2020)

Teachers unions call for governor to keep schools closed, WOFL-TV FOX 35 Orlando +1 other outlet (04/15/2020) [VIDEO]

Task Force to advise on date for reopening schools, WZVN ABC Fort Myers (04/15/2020)

Online petition calls for Florida schools to remain closed for rest of year, WTVT Fox Tampa (04/15/2020)

Miami-Dade Superintendent: Re-Opening Schools This Year ‘Does Not Make Sense’, CBS 4 Miami (04/15/2020)

Medical groups say classrooms should remain closed, Florida Politics (04/15/2020)

Florida coronavirus: Task force to weigh options for reopening schools, WFLA (NBC) Channel 8 Tampa (04/15/2020)

Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Cases Pass 22,000, Should Schools Reopen In May, And More, WUSF Tampa + 1 other outlet (04/15/2020)

Coronavirus: Volusia superintendent plans for longer school closures, adjusts learning plans, Daytona Beach News Journal (04/15/2020)

School district recoups expenses ahead of future, uncertain budgets, Citrus County Chronicle (04/15/2020)

Miami superintendent: Return to school this year is ‘not only unlikely but imprudent’, Miami Herald + 2 other publications (04/15/2020)

Flagler County’s Teachers Union Joins Call on Governor To Keep Schools Closed For Rest of the Year, Flager Live (04/15/2020)

Coronavirus Live Updates: Florida Cases Surge Past 22,000 As Death Toll Nears 600, WLRN Miami + 2 other outlets (04/15/2020)

Parents, Teachers: Should Florida Schools Remain Closed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak? WUSF Tampa (04/15/2020) 

Leon County Superintendent, leader of state teachers’ union urge DeSantis to close schools for rest of 2019-20 school year, WTXL ABC 27 (04/15/2020)

Coronavirus en Florida el miércoles, 15 de abril: Se esperan más retrasos en sistema de desempleo; miles de empleados de Disney podría someter solicitudes este domingo, Orlando el Sentinel (04/15/2020)

Superintendente escolar de Miami-Dade: Regreso físico a clases es ‘improbable e imprudente,’ El Nuevo Herald (04/15/2020)

El sindicato de maestros pide al gobernador de Florida que mantenga cerradas las escuelas, Noticias De Venezuela (04/15/2020)

Teachers’ Union Urges DeSantis To Keep Classrooms Closed, Florida Health News + 1 other outlet (04/15/2020)

Florida teacher union pushes for schools to remain closed for the semester, WTVT Fox Tampa + 1 other outlet (04/15/2020)

Coronavirus Live Updates: Florida’s Teachers Union Wants Schools Closed Through The Academic Year, WLRN Miami (04/15/2020)

Battle over when to reopen Florida schools, WOFL-TV FOX 35 Orlando (04/16/2020) [VIDEO]

 Petition started in Florida to keep schools closed through May, Tampa Bay News 9 +1 other outlet (04/16/2020)

Battle over when to reopen Florida schools, WOGX FOX 51 Alachua County (04/16/2020)

FEA urges DeSantis to keep classrooms closed, Gainesville Sun (04/16/2020)

Medical Groups Say Classrooms Should Stay Closed, Florida Health News (04/16/2020)

AFTER THE GOVERNOR’S DECISION

Florida governor orders schools closed rest of academic year, Associated Press/Education Week (04/20/2020)

Gov. DeSantis: K-12 brick-and-mortar schools closed for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year, Florida Phoenix (04/18/2020)

Florida schools won’t reopen this academic year due to coronavirus pandemic, Tallahassee Democrat (04/18/2020)

Gov. DeSantis announces K-12 schools will remain online through remainder of school year, WFLA  NBC Ch. 8 Tampa (04/18/2020)

DeSantis: Florida schools will remain shut for rest of academic year, South Florida Sun Sentinel (04/18/2020)

Florida’s public schools will be closed, stay online for school year, DeSantis says, Miami Herald +1 other publication (04/18/2020)

Florida schools to stay closed through semester, Gov. Ron DeSantis says Public sentiment had been strong to continue distance learning until Covid-19 is under control. Tampa Bay Times (04/18/2020)

Florida students will continue distance learning through rest of school year, WTVT Fox Tampa +1 other outlet (04/18/2020)

Florida schools won’t reopen this academic year due to coronavirus pandemic, Florida Today +5 other publications (04/18/2020)

Schools Closed for Rest of School Year; Tager Says Decision Gives Families and Employees ‘Peace of Mind’, Flagler Live (04/18/2020)

Florida students will continue distance learning through rest of school year, WOGX FOX 51 Alachua County (04/19/2020)

Florida’s public schools will be closed, stay online for school year, DeSantis says, Miami​.com (04/19/2020)

Florida schools won’t reopen this academic year due to coronavirus pandemic, Marco Island Sun Times + 1 other publication (04/19/2020)

Florida’s students to learn from home for remainder of school year, Orlando Weekly (04/19/2020)

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.20.20, Florida Politics (04/20/2020)

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