State presents case to open classrooms

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 4:51 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - Florida reached 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus Thursday after adding 117 fatalities. 

It was also day two of a hearing in which the state teachers union is asking a judge to stop schools from opening.

Hillsborough Special Education Teacher Lindsey Arthur was called by the state. 

She testified that just 10 of her 40 special-ed students participated when the state virtual in March.

“They need to be with their teacher if they can, with their friends, to grown and to learn,” said Arthur.

Jennifer Tribble is a working mother of rising third and fourth graders. 

“If I ever failed at anything, it’s this,” said Tribble.

She said her kids have changed dramatically with distance learning.

“I had to very active kids who never shut down. Never stopped playing. And now, they are so lazy,” said Tribble.

Laura Pope, the mother of a 16-year-old autistic son, told the court her son doesn’t understand distance learning.

“We put the iPad in front of him and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to start doing school work,’ and immediately the reaction of anxiety. No school, no school, no school. And then the iPad goes across the room,” said Pope.

The state and the union lawyers spent a lot of time arguing over whether a five-percent positivity rate was required before schools could open.

The CDC doesn’t recommend it, but that is the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A Stanford medical economist called by the state spent more than three hours testifying. 

He cited an Icelandic study showing adults are at low risk of being infected by children.

“They found not one instance of a child passing the disease onto an adult in that study,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharaya.

But the study only covered kids 10 and under.

The judge isn’t expected to rule on the injunction seeking to keep schools closed until next week, when more than a dozen districts begin classes.

Copyright 2020 Capitol News Service. All rights reserved.

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