Coronavirus: Florida teachers’ union sues state over reopening plans as COVID-19 cases surge

Florida’s largest teachers’ union sued Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday over his emergency order pushing schools to reopen next month despite spiking novel coronavirus cases statewide.

According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by NBC News, the Florida Education Association accused DeSantis and other state officials of failing to keep public schools “safe and secure,” which is in violation of a state constitutional mandate. The union further asked a state court in Miami to halt DeSantis’ reopening order.

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The suit – which also names state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and the state Board of Education as defendants – sets up a confrontation between unions and politicians that could change the trajectory of school reopening over the coming weeks, The New York Times reported.

“Gov. DeSantis needs a reality check, and we are attempting to provide one,” Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “The governor needs to accept the reality of the situation here in Florida, where the virus is surging out of control.”

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, the state of Florida has confirmed 360,394 COVID-19 cases, resulting in at least 5,072 deaths, since the pandemic began. Those figures represent the third-highest number of infections nationwide, and more than 10,000 new cases were reported Monday alone, NBC News reported.

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