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Florida's largest teachers' union gets emergency hearing in lawsuit to stop schools from reopening

The hearing will be held virtually due to coronavirus safety concerns.

Florida's largest teachers' union is again asking a judge to intervene to stop the state's education commissioner from reopening schools for in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In mid-July, the Florida Education Association sued Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Education.

The lawsuit claims the state's emergency order to reopen physical school classrooms five days a week violates the Florida Constitution, which mandates safety and security in public schools. The union wants a declaratory judgment that the state's directive to open brick and mortar schools is a violation of due process because they argue safety cannot be guaranteed as COVID-19 deaths and confirmed cases continue to climb statewide.

Some of Florida's 67 public school districts are scheduled to begin reopening physical locations on Aug. 10, and many districts will follow on Aug. 31. So, the FEA is now trying to act fast to stop that from happening.

In a new document filed this week, the union asked the court for an emergency status conference no later than Tuesday and to schedule a hearing by Aug. 7 – ahead of schools reopening.

According to the Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts, where the case was filed, a special hearing has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday. Due to coronavirus concerns, the courthouse is closed. And, the hearing will be held virtually via Zoom.

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