On Monday, a federal judge sided with Florida’s teachers’ union and against the embattled administration of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and its aggressive push to force schools to reopen despite COVID-19.
For weeks, DeSantis and co. have been under fire from parents and teachers over a “brick and mortar” schooling requirement—that IRL schooling be an option for parents at least five days a week. Under an executive order technically issued by state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, schools across the state had to offer that up by Aug. 31 (some flexibility was allowed, including for hot zone South Florida), in addition to virtual options parents might prefer during, you know, a cascading pandemic. Hillsborough and Martin counties, among others, have emerged as battlegrounds over the policy, with the former openly defying the administration and the latter seeing sizable numbers of students placed in quarantine.
On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson said parts of the order were unconstitutional. The immediate implications of the ruling were still coming into focus, but appeared to mean the executive order was altered such that districts had more flexibility about when and how to reopen.