Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday rejected what he called “incredibly draconian” university policy in the state, saying they were punishing students for attending large gatherings amid the coronavirus, according to reports. reports.
The Republican suggested he might be open to a student “bill of rights” and said the state is exploring options to protect students, FOX 35 reported in Orlando and Politico.
The governor’s comments came as some colleges across the country and in Florida had to close their campuses shortly after reopening due to coronavirus clusters attributed to student holidays.
Some colleges, including Florida State University in Tallahassee, have threatened to suspend or even expel students who attend big parties in violation of school rules.
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“Personally, I think it’s incredibly draconian for a student to potentially be kicked out for going to a party,” DeSantis said at a Tallahassee press conference on public health. “That’s what college kids do.”
In a letter to students last week, Florida State University President John Thrasher wrote, “Failure to meet the expectations set out in our fall 2020 plan will not be tolerated. We must demonstrate our commitment to each other and to this great university by doing all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. ”
This included attending large gatherings and not isolating if a student tested positive for the virus.
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“Students should be on campus,” said Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University Medical School, who was part of the press conference. “They should go. If they do get sick, maybe they should stay in the dorm until they are well if they have a cough. Colleges should operate more or less normally. ”
The state of Florida has seen more than 2,100 students and staff tested positive since March and the University of Florida at Gainesville has had more than 700 students and staff contracted with the virus, FOX 35 reported.
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“We have to be reasonable about it and really focus on the bigger risk,” DeSantis said, according to Politico.