This fourth grader just wants to go to school. Florida’s risky COVID policies force her to stay home
The only place nine-year-old Reefy Kinder wants to be is in school with her friends. She has missed so many lessons in six years battling a long-term gastro-intestinal condition, including more than 30 surgeries during many months as an inpatient at Orlando’s Arnold Palmer children’s hospital, that she figures she has a lot to catch up on.
Standing in her way, according to Reefy and her mother, Jamie, are Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, and his handpicked new state surgeon general Joseph Ladapo, an opponent of mask mandates who believes vaccines are no more effective than eating healthily and losing weight in the fight against Covid-19.
On his first full day on the job last week, Ladapo issued an edict making quarantine optional for students who have been directly exposed to coronavirus. Combined with DeSantis’s own ruling outlawing mask mandates in Florida schools, the Kinders believe it is now too risky for Reefy, who is immuno-compromised, to return to her lessons for the first time since March 2020.