By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) – Some South Florida educators once again calling out Governor Ron DeSantis, this time over a new policy saying students who are exposed to COVID-19 but don’t show symptoms won’t need to quarantine.

New state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, whose appointment was announced Tuesday by DeSantis, signed the emergency rule that gives parents more authority to decide whether children go to school after being exposed to people who have COVID-19.

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“We are going to be following a symptoms-based approach,” said DeSantis at a news conference in Kissimmee on Wednesday.

The new rule gives parents the option of allowing the “student to attend school, school-sponsored activities, or be on school property, without restrictions or disparate treatment, so long as the student remains asymptomatic.”

“Many of our folks in Florida are not able to work from home. They have to be at that job, they have to be there earning a living, and so they get a call the night before saying hey your son or daughter is going to have to quarantine and that makes it very difficult for them,” said DeSantis.

Parents also would have the option of quarantining their students for up to seven days.

Miami-Dade schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said they are having conversations about the new rule.

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“Miami-Dade County Public Schools will continue to follow the best advice and the expert advice of public health officials. We’ve been doing that for many months now and we will stay the course,” he said. “We are going to continue to analyze the Surgeon General’s new emergency rule and we will have the necessary conversations with Tallahassee entities to guarantee a safe and healthy learning environment.”

Last week, the school district said high school students and staff who have had the vaccine will not need to quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic. However, unvaccinated highs school students and staff will need a negative PCR after five days which means students can return on day seven or so. All elementary and middle school students will need to quarantine for seven days if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 regardless of symptoms

The Broward Teachers Union called the new rules “politically, not health, motivated.”

“We believe Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo‘s emergency rule is wrong and extremely ill-advised. The spread of the virus among children has gone up by triple digits, yet our governor and his newly appointed surgeon general continue to bury their heads in the sand. This is clearly politically, not public health, motivated,” said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco in a statement.

The new rules also set protocols for students who test positive for COVID-19 and are symptomatic.

Under one protocol, students will be able to return to school after they receive negative tests and are asymptomatic. Under another protocol, they will be able to return 10 days after the onset of symptoms or positive test results if they have not had fevers for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving. Under a third protocol, students could return with written permission from doctors or advanced registered nurse practitioners.

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