Florida teachers sue over school reopenings as U.S. COVID-19 cases mount

July 21, 2020

Teachers unions and parents in Florida have sued Governor Ron DeSantis over his emergency order that schools reopen fully in August despite the state's surging coronavirus cases and deaths, the New York Times reported. In the first known suit of its kind in the United States, the plaintiffs accused DeSantis of breaking a state law mandating "safe" and "secure" schools and asked the court to give jurisdiction over reopening to local school superintendents and health departments, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota

The positive testing rate in Florida rose to 14.7 percent, the highest in a week, up from 5 percent in May. Public health experts have urged school districts to delay in-person schooling if their region has a positive testing rate higher than 5 percent. In addition, Florida recorded another over 10,000 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to more than 360,000, as well as 92 more deaths, for a total of more than 5,200, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. At least 2,400 deaths (46.3 percent) have occurred in long-term care facilities.

The U.S. COVID-19 case total has risen to over 3,800,000, including more than 140,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

While the death count did not approach the July 16 record of 156, it did continue an upward trajectory indicating that deaths are gaining on numbers of new daily cases. There were over 9,500 hospitalized patients in a 24-hour period, up from 9,300, pushing capacities to the brink, with the highest numbers in Miami-Dade County, followed by Broward County and Palm Beach County.

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