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Big Bend area school districts say ruling on state order won't change their reopening plans

Posted at 7:02 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 19:02:09-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The State of Florida has appealed a ruling from Judge Dodson declaring Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s emergency order to reopen schools unconstitutional.

That leaves the fate of Florida school districts' reopening plans in a bit of legal limbo, since the appeal upholds the requirement that schools re-open by the end of August.

The Florida Education Association plans to file a motion to reinstate the judge's ruling.

If that motion passes, school districts' funding may no longer be tied to whether they hold in-person classes.

Many advocates want school districts to go virtual-only until the number of positive COVID-19 cases decreases significantly.

Still, superintendents say they'd rather parents have both options.

"Everything we do we do with the safety in mind of our kids, and we would survey our parents and we would try to meet the needs of our students," said Shirley Joseph, the superintendent of Madison County Schools. "And so I think even if funding was not available, we would love to have a choice of face to face for our students."

"We would not change any of our approach on student safety at this time," said Robert Pearce, the superintendent of Wakulla County Schools. "And it would not have at this time an impact on a change in what our plan is moving forward."

Unless the FEA's motion to reinstate the judge's ruling passes, all school districts across the state are required to reopen brick and mortar by August 31.