Health directors told to keep quiet as Florida leaders pressed to reopen classrooms

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DiSantis stiooed health directors from telling schools if they were unsafeAs Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed this summer for schools to reopen, state leaders told school boards they would need Health Department approval if they wanted to keep classrooms closed.

Then they instructed health directors not to give it.

Following a directive from DeSantis’ administration, county health directors across Florida refused to give school boards advice about one of the most wrenching public health decisions in modern history: whether to reopen schools in a worsening pandemic, a Gannett USA TODAY NETWORK review found.

In county after county the health directors’ refrain to school leaders was the same: Their role was to provide information, not recommendations.

They could not tell school boards whether they believed the risks of opening campuses were too great, they said. They could only provide suggestions on how to reopen safely.

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