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'This came out of the blue': LCS attorney figures out next steps after Surgeon General issues new emergency rule

Posted at 7:31 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 08:45:24-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — It feels like Deja Vu for the Leon County School District. Their case against the Department of Health is no longer valid after the new surgeon general made an emergency rule.

The new order from the Surgeon General states:

Schools shall allow parents or legal guardians the authority to choose how their child receives education after having direct contact with an individual that is positive for COVID-19.

LCS's attorney Jamie Cole said the district has a couple of options to consider: start a new case against the department of health or do something directly with the district court of appeals.

He said both these options mean starting from scratch.

"Which will force us to start our proceeding from day one," Cole said. "This came out of the blue."

During the press conference, both Dr. Ladapo and Gov. DeSantis said data and studies don't justify quarantining asymptomatic, COVID-positive people.

"This rule is apparently just a change in policy on behalf of the surgeon general," Cole said. "A change in policy doesn't generally constitute an emergency that should deprive the public of the input they could give in the rule-making process. There is just no health emergency and no immediate danger that needed to rectify this rule."

Cole said there are two challenges they're considering against this rule: was this rule properly enacted as an emergency rule and was this a valid use of their rule-making authority.

Cole argues no for both.

"Because it goes way beyond what the department of health should be doing," Cole said. "They should only be issuing rules that control COVID-19. This rule does not control COVID-19. It does the exact opposite."

Cole said his law office filed a petition in the third district court of appeals on behalf of the Miami-Dade School District because he fears a spontaneous emergency rule could happen again.

"If theoretically, every time we get close to a hearing they could repeal the rule and just enact a new one that would certain thwart any ability to meaningfully review any of these decisions, so we have asked the third district appeals court to issue an opinion not withstand the repeal so that it will guide us into the future," Cole said.

Superintendent will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Friday to answer further questions.