(CNSNews.com) - Decisions to keep schools closed should be done with a "cost-benefit analysis" that takes working families and single mothers into account, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Fox News on Tuesday.
Rubio said the recent community spread of COVID-19 -- especially in Florida and other Sunbelt states -- is "a real threat," but the costs of keeping schools closed is also "significant."
Imagine if you're a single mother that has to be at work every day at 8:00 A.M., your job depends on it, what do you do with your nine-year old? If schools aren't open, you’re probably dropping them off with the lady in the neighborhood that takes care of every kid in the neighborhood, and that's risky, too, not to mention that children aren't learning, and learning losses are very, very significant.
So it has an economic impact, it has a learning impact, it has a long-term impact that'll be with us long after the pandemic has passed. So we've got to weigh the costs and the benefits. And there will always be risk as long as there is no immunity from this virus, so we're going to have to do the best we can and be flexible. But at some point, schools really do need to open.
Rubio said there must be an online teaching/learning option for teachers, students and others who would be putting their own lives or the lives of relatives at risk by showing up in the classroom.
So there has to be a non-school option available to people. But I do believe we have to work extra hard to be as flexible as we can -- to figure out a way to get those who do need to be in school into a brick and mortar facility so they can learn.
This is particularly important for working families. And I think more affluent families, this is a big hassle, but I think they're going to figure it out. The ones who are going to be really impacted are working families and low-income families and (those) who just don't have those options available to them.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday noted that a lot of parents want to have the option of sending their children back to school, something he endorses. "But I also think parents should have the option to do virtual if they want to. I believe in school choice," he said, adding that "science" shows children are at extremely low risk of suffering complications from the virus or transmitting it.