Florida Education Association/Facebook
Fedrick Ingram

Teachers sue Florida governor to stop the mandated opening of schools in the midst of coronavirus pandemic

July 20, 2020
Teachers say the governor's push to open schools while coronavirus cases are surging is "reckless" and "unconscionable."

Florida’s teachers contend in a lawsuit filed today that Gov. Ron DeSantis 's order directing school buildings to reopen next month risks the health and safety of families and school employees.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports teachers from Broward and Miami-Dade counties as well as the NAACP are asking a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge to issue an injunction and stop schools from reopening.

Reopening classrooms next month would be “reckless...we believe it is unconscionable,” says Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association and a Miami-Dade teacher. “Young people die from this virus. Let’s keep these kids alive.”

In response, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran says the teachers’ union has misinterpreted the emergency plan.

Schools are trying to determine how to reopen campuses in the face of rising number of cases in Florida.

On July 6, the state issued an emergency order that mandated the reopening of school buildings when the new school year starts. The order leaves the decision to local officials based on health considerations.

The new school year is scheduled to start Aug. 19 in Broward County, Aug. 10 in Palm Beach County and Aug. 24 in Miami-Dade County.

School officials say it will be difficult to have all students return to school safely in the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases.

Palm Beach County has announced a plan to start the school year online. Broward County has not yet announced its plan. Miami-Dade said in-person classes won’t begin until the county enters Phase 2 of reopening after the pandemic. All of South Florida is in Phase 1.

South Florida’s teachers’ unions have voiced support for online education until coronavirus is less widespread.

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