The Epicenter of the COVID Pandemic Just Issued This Shocking New Order

With cases still spiking, officials in Florida drew attention with a surprising announcement.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus has spread rapidly through certain regions of the country, driving states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona to become the latest epicenters of the pandemic. And despite that being the case, one of those hotspots has made a surprising announcement. In an emergency order issued on July 6, the Florida Department of Education said that all schools must reopen in August, with in-person instruction available to any student who wants it.

In the order, the state's education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, declared that all brick-and-mortar schools must be open for instruction at least five days a week. Remote learning will still be an option, according to the order, but any parent who wants their child to receive in-person class instruction from a teacher will have that request fulfilled, as it falls into the "full array of services" all schools are expected to provide.

Black girl on school campus wearing a mask for coronavirus protection.

"Education is critical to the success of the state and to an individual, and extended school closures can impede the educational success of students, impact families' well-being and limit many parents and guardians from returning to work," Corcoran wrote in the order.

The order came despite Florida being the current home of one of the worst outbreaks of the pandemic. The state reported nearly 7,350‬ new cases on July 7, bringing its total to almost 213,800.

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Though the new order did state that schools would be allowed to close should local health officials deem them too unsafe to operate, it wasn't enough to alleviate the shock many educators felt when they heard they will be required to return to school in just a matter of weeks.

"I can think of no other industry forcing an entire workforce into such an unsafe environment," Amy Spies, a fourth-grade teacher in Daytona Beach, told NBC News. "It is physically impossible to meet [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] social distancing requirements if schools are at full capacity." And for more on how coronavirus is affecting students, check out 1 Million People May Need to Leave the U.S. for This Reason in the Fall.

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