Florida Responds To The Reopening Of Its State
May 15, 2020
Humans, by nature, are social creatures.
Floridians, by nature, crave rampant, seaside shindigs.
We have not taken well to 63 days of social distancing. Nor has our government.
Nearly two months succeeding his initial stay-at-home orders, Governor Ron DeSantis has declared Florida suitable to reopen. Well, partially-suitable.
On Monday, May 4, northern Florida counties entered phase one of DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-By-Step. Plan” allowing elective surgeries to resume and large venues (large venues– as defined by the Floridian– are as applicable to beaches as they are to restaurants and shopping centers) to reopen if they adhere to strict sanitation and distancing guidelines.
“I think that it’s good that Florida is beginning to reopen because many people are struggling financially due to not being able to work during the shutdown. I think that series of small steps to reopen will work well because that way, if something goes wrong, we don’t have to completely shut down all over again. Instead, we can back off a little bit and hopefully keep everyone healthy as we keep small businesses successful and functional,” said Grace Odmark (‘22)
Alas, not all share Odmark’s hopeful sentiments.
“Safe. Smart. Step-By-Step. Plan” has spurred a slew of criticisms across the nation.
Protesters line body bags outside Florida's Capitol building https://t.co/J0WwSgZ5Dw
— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) May 12, 2020
In an article published by the Miami Herald, DeSantis allowed the populous counties of Miami-Dade and Broward to reopen in spite of their inability to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Protections guidelines: two weeks of declining deaths and new cases.
Northern Florida (home of the trending tag, #FloridaMorons) hasn’t done much better.
Within days of reopening, hundreds flocked to the beaches of Naples, Florida only to be promptly escorted off property as the sheer number of beachgoers exceeded social distancing guidelines. On May 5, The Green Lemon, a local Mexican restaurant, had been forced close prematurely on account of their inability to serve each of their guests safely.
A tale of two #CincoDeMayo celebrations: One popular SoHo spot had to shut down early due to crowds while restaurants in Ybor kept customers spaced out along historic 7th Ave. @abcactionnews ICYMI: pic.twitter.com/3aLdv9Vbyb
— Ryan Smith (@RyanReports) May 6, 2020
DeSantis’ attempt to reopen our state, albeit well-intentioned, had not been properly enforced.
Conversely, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIAID dares to suggest that we have only touched the tip of the iceberg that is COVID-19.
During Tuesday night’s virtual senate hearing, Fauci warned government officials against the reopening of our nation and encouraged officials to maintain social-distancing practices as a vaccine is currently nonexistent.
“If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections that will be in the community, then we run the risk of having a resurgence,” said Fauci.
How will Fauci’s predictions affect our Academy community? Principal Stephanie Nitchals has the answers:
“We are extremely hopeful (and expecting) to open as normal in August. With that said, we also have to plan for a situation where we can’t return to normal.
The school will be devising plans for 3 scenarios:
1. Opening as normal but with increased sanitation and health protocols.
2. Opening in a mixed virtual and in-person format to allow for greater social distancing
Or the worst case scenario….
3. Complete online learning.
It is too early to tell where we will be in August, but the school has a Covid task force that is discussing this issue almost daily, and we will be prepared no matter what the situation. I am so thankful to the teachers for switching to online learning so quickly this spring. I think they did a great job! If we do go back to virtual learning, we will have more time to plan, and make modifications to what we are currently doing. Nobody wants this option, but we put your health and safety above all other concerns,” said Nitchals.