School reopening lawsuit in limbo
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - School districts began opening in-class learning Monday as the lawsuit filed by the Florida Education Association (FEA) to delay classroom learning remains in limbo.
The case was transferred from Miami to Tallahassee last week and no hearing date has yet been set. The order transferring the reopening lawsuit to the State Capital was issued last Thursday and by Monday morning, two circuit judges had recused themselves. Neither responded to an email asking why.
The Florida Education Association, which filed the lawsuit, wants schools open, but safely.
“We want to make sure that our students and the people who work in our schools are safe. This is not about whether or not we reopen schools. This is not about opening schools in the right environment and in the way,” FEA Vice President Andrew Spar said.
Five mostly rural Florida counties opened their classrooms Monday and more are expected throughout the week.
The state’s pediatric COVID-19 report shows more than 39,000 in kids 17 and under have tested positive. In better news, however, there have been no new cases reported over the last four days.
At an education roundtable, the governor reiterated he was committed to having in class learning.
“There are a lot of parents who do believe that the in person is essential, and we want to make sure they have the option to exercise a meaningful choice as well,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
Late Friday, the Hillsborough County School District’s plan to start the school year with four weeks of online-only instruction was rejected by the state.
“They brought together medical professionals from many of the area hospitals and asked them, ‘Is it safe to open schools?’ And every single medical professional said they didn’t think it was at this point in the COVID crisis,” Spar said.
And FEA said it does expect the lawsuit will be back in court for a hearing by the end of the week.
The union continues to say it wants to sit down with the Governor to talk about options, but he has so far refused that offer.