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Fight to stop school reopening in Florida likely on hold

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – Governor Ron DeSantis isn’t budging on his plan to reopen brick and mortar schools in the coming days.

Florida teachers have asked a judge to stop him, but legal maneuvering could delay a decision until it no longer matters.

The injunction was filed late Tuesday, citing more than 38,000 Florida cases in children under 17.  

But since that filing, 490 more cases appeared on the state’s tally with the vast majority being among school-age children.

“These are life and death, no do over decisions,” said Mark Richards, attorney for the Florida Education Association.

Lawyers were in court to schedule a hearing on the request.

“We’re not here asking your honor whether a particular class in English or art is conducted appropriately. The element of human safety is indeed something judges are able to deal with,” said FEA attorney Kendall Coffey.

A union survey of 44,000 teachers found that only one in ten want to go back to the classroom this month.

Lawyers said in court that if schools are forced to reopen, many will retire early.

On Thursday, the court will first take up whether the case should be decided in Miami, where it was filed, or in the state Capitol.

No matter what happens, both sides promise an appeal. If the judge rules for the teachers, the state gets an automatic appeal.

If he rules for the state, the other side will appeal, pushing back any decision until a time it may not matter.

The Florida PTA more than anything wants parents to have options.

“Some are out looking for new jobs. Some, just because of the need to work their job or jobs don’t allow them to keep their children home, even though that may be what they are more comfortable with,” said Dr. Danielle Thomas, Vice President of Education for the Florida PTA.

35 of the state’s 67 school systems are scheduled to open classrooms next week.

For now it doesn’t appear that an order from any court is going to stop the opening.

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