Emergency Executive Order Makes Quarantine Optional for all M-DCPS Students

Jasmine Judge, Design Editor

An emergency order signed Wednesday, Sept. 22, by Florida’s new surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Lapado, has removed the decision to quarantine students exposed to COVID-19 from school districts. Instead, it designates the choice of isolation solely to parents.

On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Lapado as the state’s new surgeon general. The two share similar outlooks on managing the pandemic in contrast with guidelines presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

DeSantis showed his support for this new bill, stating that taking a “symptom-based approach” allows for healthy students to stay in school without the disruption of isolation for extended periods of time.

The CDC has expressed its criticisms of the order, claiming it unwise to let asymptomatic students return to school, as they are still capable of passing on the virus. 

Health officials remain concerned with the fact that the rule is based on schools’ trust in parents. In accordance with the new order, parents have the choice to send their children to school, despite showing possible symptoms of COVID-19. Schools must rely on an honor code when students are exposed, leaving more room for parents to send symptomatic children to back school.

In addition, the bill enforces Florida’s previous ban on school mask mandates. Coupled with quarantine decisions being placed into the hands of parents, many families have concerns regarding the further spread of COVID-19 in the classroom.