Students in Florida no longer have to quarantine due to exposure to the Chinese coronavirus if they are asymptomatic — a “very simple” rule, Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) press secretary explained on Thursday.
“Florida’s revised rule about school quarantine is very simple: Students who are sick have to stay home until they recover. Students who are NOT sick, but had a positive contact, do not have to quarantine and miss out on essential in-person learning experiences,” the governor’s press secretary Christina Pushaw explained on Thursday following Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the Sunshine State’s new surgeon general, signing the new protocols:
Previously, Florida students who were exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus had to quarantine for four days, even if they were not exhibiting symptoms. Now, asymptomatic students have the option to quarantine. They can continue to go to school “without restrictions or disparate treatment,” although they are permitted to quarantine for up to seven days.
On Wednesday, DeSantis described quarantining healthy students as “incredibly damaging for their educational advancement.”
“It’s also disruptive for families. We are going to be following a symptoms-based approach,” he explained, during a press conference in Osceola County.
Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for schools recommend fully vaccinated individuals who were exposed to the virus to be “referred for COVID-19 testing.”
“If asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine at home following an exposure (they can continue to attend school in-person and participate in other activities),” the CDC says, urging them to wear a mask in indoor public settings “for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.”
Similarly, unvaccinated individuals who were exposed, the CDC says, should be tested but quarantine for “14 days after exposure,” regardless of the test result.
“Options to shorten quarantine provide acceptable alternatives of a 10-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine combined with testing and a negative test result,” the federal health agency states in its guidance for schools.
This week, the newly appointed Florida surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, blasted coronavirus fearmongering and declared that Florida is “done with fear.”
“It’s been something that’s been, unfortunately, a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s over here — expiration date is done,” he declared, adding that people “have autonomy over their lives.”
“It’s not OK, it’s not virtuous, and it’s not right to just take away those rights from individuals,” he added.