School Reopening Case Delayed

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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(WCJB) - The case challenging the opening of brick and mortar schools is being transferred from Miami to Tallahassee.

Teachers chose to file in Miami because it remains the epicenter of the state's virus outbreak, but some schools will open before there is a decision.

Dozens of school districts are set to reopen in-person learning next week.

Lawyers were set to argue whether that was safe on Friday, but a judge granted the state's motion to move the case from Miami to Tallahassee.

“It is an issue of statewide importance. Crucial issue of statewide importance,” said 11th Circuit Judge Spencer Eig.

Union lawyers call it a delaying tactic.

“We’re disappointed, just in a sense that it added delay which was completely unnecessary,” said FEA Attorney Kendall Coffey.

FEA Attorney Ron Meyer said he hopes the two sides can avoid a trial.

“And let’s talk. If school districts do indeed have the option to take actions in the safety of students without being financially penalized, Say it. Don’t rely on an ambitious order,” said Meyer.

With the case moving to the Capitol, it's now clear some schools will open before this case is resolved.

Florida Pediatricians have been warning the governor for weeks it’s not yet safe to open schools.

“What I wish would happen is that the schools would just hold off brick and mortar until we are down to below five percent infection rate. Flordia is now overall at just over 11. admittedly, it’s come down some since we wrote the paper, but it’s still far too high in our opinion to open up schools.,” said Dr. Paul Robinson, President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the state added 599 new cases in kids 17 and under.

“We need to agree on how to make schools safe. We don’t want to paint hearses yellow and park out in front of our schools,” said Meyer.

In moving the case, the judge said he would expedite the transfer.

Lawyers said when it gets to Tallahassee, the NAACP will join because of the high rate of infection among African Americans.

Union lawyers said Wednesday they would seek a stay in the order to move if it was granted.

Thursday they chose to keep the case moving.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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