FLORIDA -- Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced plans for Florida's K-12 public schools to reopen at full capacity in the fall.

What You Need To Know

  • Plans announced to reopen Florida's public schools

  • Goal is to reopen schools fully in the fall

  • State released document providing recommendations, guidelines: READ full document

  • Recommendations include disinfecting, social distancing, face coverings, etc. 
  • State to also use millions in federal CARES Act funds for eduction

"Having a teacher there, there just isn't going to be a substitute for that in-person instruction," he said.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that's the recommendation being made to local school superintendents.

"We want schools fully open in the fall because there is no better way to educate our kids than to have a great teacher in front of that child," Corcoran said.

The state has released a 143 page document providing recommendations and guidelines for reopening campuses.

It said final plans for exactly when and how schools will reopen will be decided at the local level.

"We want to empower, not just the superintendents, but all local stakeholders to be able to craft a solution that makes the most sense for that area," said Gov. DeSantis.

However, the state plan said "Florida can only hit its economic stride if schools are open."

The guidelines cover a wide range of topics including disinfecting, social distancing, face coverings, and how to handle students and staff with medical issues.

DeSantis also discussed how the state plans to use millions of dollars in federal CARES Act funds for education.

"Sixty-four million dollars will be provided to close achievement gaps that have likely been exacerbated during the pandemic. These funds will provide a 4 to 5 week summer program on school campuses to students from K-5 who are identified with a substantial deficient in reading based on assessment and teacher recommendations," said Gov. DeSantis.

Additional money will be used for reading coaches, early learning programs, and scholarships.

Pinellas County School Superintendent Michael Grego said reopening will be "challenging" but he says the funding will help.

"It will seek to insure that districts have flexibility, supplemental supports to implement strategies such as expanded summer hours and expanded after-school hours in the fall and digital learning devices throughout this state," Grego said.

Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins says she likes the 143-page plan — it gives a lot of suggestions for reopening safely, but it leaves many of the final decisions up to school districts.

“We really need to have time to delve into the document and have discussions with our school board before we can even consider how we might move forward,” Jenkins said.

The plan encourages school districts to consider reopening in "steps." It recommends reopening campuses in June for summer camps, then expanding to summer instruction in July and opening fully in August.

It also calls for school districts to look at flexible leave plans for teachers and staff, along with alternate plans for medically vulnerable students.

School districts across Florida have announced in recent days that they are working on reopening plans and details could be released within the next few weeks.