Florida Governor sued over school reopening amid pandemic

A teachers union in Florida, which has become a global coronavirus epicentre, sued the state’s Governor and education officials, in order to prevent schools from reopening next month as the pandemic was raging.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday by the Florida Education Association (FEA) in a state circuit court in Miami, sought to challenge Governor Ron DeSantis’ order requesting all schools in the state to open for in-person learning five days a week starting from August, reports Xinhua news agency.

The lawsuit intends to stop the reckless and unsafe reopening of public school campuses as coronavirus infections surge statewide, according to the FEA.

It is supported by the affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.

In addition to the Republican Governor, the suit also listed Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, Florida Department of Education, Florida Board of Education and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez as defendants.

With cases – now more than 355,000 in total – increasing by over 10,000 daily for the last six consecutive days and death toll topping 5,000, Florida has emerged as a new global epicentre of the contagion.

It is against this backdrop that DeSantis, on July 6, ordered schools to reopen, doubling down on his request in the following days.

“Governor DeSantis needs a reality check, and we are attempting to provide one,” FEA President Fedrick Ingram said.

“The governor needs to accept the reality of the situation here in Florida, where the virus is surging out of control,” Ingram said, adding that while reopening schools is a common aspiration, Florida teachers “don’t want to begin in-person teaching, face an explosion of cases and sickness, then be forced to return to distance learning”.

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