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FEA Rests Its Case In School Reopen Challenge, State Presents Thursday

Feliphe Schiarolli

The first day of hearings in the legal battle over reopening brick-and mortar schools in Florida wrapped up Wednesday afternoon.

Statewide teachers union, the Florida Education Association, is challenging the state’s order that campuses most open five days per week. The suit alleges the state mandate violates a constitutional requirement that public schools be “safe.”

The FEA rested its case Wednesday, part of which included bringing expert witnesses. One of those was Doctor Annette Nielsen. She serves on an advisory board for Orange County Schools.

Numbers are going to increase. You’re going to have kids get sick, you’re going to have teachers become sick,” Neilsen told those on the Zoom hearing. “You’re going to have – everyone in the school will have a close contact who becomes sick. So not only will you have illness, but then in response to that, you’ll also have complications. Whether that’s heart issues, dialysis issues – a multitude of issues that you can have.”

The state begins presenting its case Thursday morning. Leon County judge Charles Dodson has repeatedly urged the two sides to reach an agreement. If that doesn’t happen, he says he hopes to make a ruling early next week.

In the meantime, more school reopenings throughout the state are looming.

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Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.