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School closing lawsuit could be settled Friday

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A judge will decide on Friday if a lawsuit seeking to keep schools closed is dead in the water or will go forward. 

The first order of business for the court will be to hear the state’s motion to dismiss.

Thursday’s hearing was just for scheduling, but both sides worked to get their main points in the judge’s mind.

“Plaintiffs allege are putting people at risk,” said Ron Meyer, Attorney for the Florida Education Association.

“We think they’re asking the court to do things that are most impossible. It asks you to act as the Governor of the State of Florida,” said David Wells, an Attorney representing the governor.

100 miles to the south, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran toured Dixie County High School. 

It opened Monday. 

Superintendent Mike Thomas was pleasantly surprised by the attendance.

“We’ve had over 90% turnout in our four schools in our district,” said Thomas.

But on day two in Martin County on the other side of the state, nine students were sent home to quarantine after one student showed symptoms.

“We know we are going to have COVID cases. Of course it’s going to happen,” said Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

Corcoran said what’s important is how schools respond when there is a case. 

“What we are saying is number one, don’t panic because we know those facts, and number two, be surgical, not sweeping. So I think Martin County has done a great job,” said Corcoran.

Both the governor and Education Commissioner continue to argue that they believe kids will be better off in class than stuck at home.

“They are avoiding those things that are of huge consequence, whether its suicide, drug overdoses, food insecurity,” said Corcoran.

During a Thursday press conference, the governor clarified his comparison of teachers to the Navy Seal team that took out Bin Laden.

“It was more about inspiration and about figuring out a way to get it done than anything about comparing the danger,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

By midday Friday, the judge will likely have ruled whether the suit seeking to keep schools closed goes forward.

The Education Commissioner said districts that don’t open classrooms during August face the loss of transportation and class size funding totaling thousands of dollars.

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