Back To School In Florida

“In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates,” says Governor Ron DeSantis.

— Steve’s Marketplace —

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.

When talking about reopening public schools this fall, the leader of a prominent teachers’ union waffles enough to be on an IHOP menu.  

“… We’re going to try to open up schools,” says Randi Weingarten, the president of the prominent American Federation of Teachers union. Weingarten’s comments came after the Centers for Disease Control changed its guidance regarding masks, again. 

The CDC is now recommending that students and teachers wear masks while indoors while at school, regardless of vaccination status. These ever-changing conditions have given Weingarten pause about fully opening schools, again. 

However, there is no waffling or indecision regarding Florida’s public schools, including those in Nassau County. Gov. Ron DeSantis has been as clear as Florida’s springs about this matter. And his candor is as refreshing as a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. 

“If you have been listening to some of the murmurs going around Washington lately, and if you’ve been listening to some of the stuff percolating around the CDC,” DeSantis says, “there’s a movement to try to impose more restrictions on the American people.” 

DeSantis further addressed the opening of public schools, and potential closings of any kind, including for small businesses.

“In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates,” DeSantis belted out to cheers at a recent event. 

Last year, Florida public schools fully reopened, with traditional learning between teachers and students. Most other states had virtual modifications of these traditional roles. To the detriment of the students, certainly, but not as much for the teachers. Anyhow, most unions see public education in the eyes of the teachers, rather than the students. 

In Florida, teachers’ unions are significantly weaker than in other states, according to a report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. In other words, fewer teachers belong to unions here, which helped in reopening Florida’s schools last fall. In contrast, unions commonly opposed reopening schools in other states. 

Florida schools enjoyed a successful school year, free of restraints and full of learning, and will do it again this year. DeSantis remains resolute in his convictions. “We are going to have schools open,” he says. 

To the contrary, many states are battling this decision, evidenced by Weingarten’s comments. Floridians will “remain free to choose what’s best for themselves and their families,” DeSantis says, and other people in other places should be able to do the same. 

“They should not be consigned to live – regardless of which state in the union – in a Faucian dystopia,” DeSantis says, “in which we’re governed by the whims of bureaucratic authorities who care little for our freedom, little for our aspirations, and little for our happiness.” 

Weingarten’s union has substantial power. Unions are generous political contributors, earning them favors. 

In fact, the AFT was directly influencing the CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools last year, according to emails uncovered by the New York Post. According to reports, the CDC was prepared to allow in-school instruction, but then backtracked following a suggestion from the union. 

The CDC proceeded to add this clause to its guidelines: “In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” 

 Post columnist Karol Markowicz expressed an opinion on the matter. “Schools will open everywhere except where Randi has influence,” Markowicz wrote. “Just like they did last year.”


Steve Nicklas Financial Advisor
Steve Nicklas

Steve Nicklas is a financial adviser with a regional brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in North Florida and in South Georgia, and on his website at He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected]