Teachers in Florida are suing the state to block an emergency order requiring schools to open next month with in-person instruction. They say, with the surge of coronavirus cases, the order violates a provision in the Florida Constitution requiring the state to ensure schools are operated safely.
The emergency order, issued this month by Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, says all school districts “must open brick and mortar schools at least five days a week for all students.” The order says the final decision on whether to reopen schools rests with local superintendents and school boards. But it suggests funding may depend on it. The districts that submit reopening plans approved by the state will receive full funding.
In a lawsuit filed in Miami, the Florida Education Association, joined by teachers and parents, says the Department of Education order defies recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools safely. Besides Corcoran, the lawsuit also names the Florida Board of Education, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez as defendants.