Republicans and Democrats have been on opposing sides of the argument when it comes to the reopening of schools. GOP members have taken a hardline approach, calling for schools to reopen and allow in-person schooling. Moreover, lawmakers like Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) have even argued that schools should be defunded if they refuse to provide in-person education. With the state of Florida opening up, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) held a press conference in Sarasota, announcing that teachers and principals would be receiving a $1,000 bonus. The Governor then said that “next year is going to be a normal school year,” adding that “it’s going to look like January of 2020.”
In discussing that “students are going to be back in the classroom,” the Governor also shared that he does not think students should be mandated to wear masks in school. This is something that Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran (R) agrees with.
In April, the Commissioner directed a letter to superintendents saying that schools shouldn’t have a mandatory mask policy when students return to school next year.
“We ask that districts, which currently are implementing a mandated face-covering policy, revise their policy to be voluntary,” he wrote in the letter.
After the press conference in Sarasota, Corcoran was asked if the Department of Education would press districts to make face coverings voluntary, and Corcoran assured that he believes “all the districts will do it on their own.”
Earlier this year, members of the GOP took issue with teacher’s unions, arguing that they were to blame for schools being closed. Rubio, during an interview with Fox and Friends and in an op-ed he wrote, discussed how President Joe Biden (D) “to take on the teacher’s union, which is a core part of his support base, so he doesn’t want to do it.”