I’m kind of surprised. I knew that the DeSantis order was terminally stupid, but I did not think that it was illegal:
Florida’s state government cannot force schools to reopen this month, a judge ruled yesterday. The state’s order to reopen K-12 schools disregarded safety risks posed by COVID-19 and gave schools no meaningful alternative, according to the ruling issued by Judge Charles Dodson of the Second Judicial Circuit in Leon County.
On July 6, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order stating, “Upon reopening in August, all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students.” Schools that don’t meet this requirement could lose state funding. Corcoran, Governor Ron DeSantis, and other state officials were then sued by the Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers’ union; the NAACP; and several individual teachers and parents.
After summarizing the health risks of reopening schools during the pandemic, the judge wrote that the state’s order to reopen schools “takes none of that into consideration. It fails to mention consideration of community transmission rates, varying ages of students, or proper precautions. What has been clearly established is there is no easy decision and opening schools will most likely increase COVID‐19 cases in Florida. Thus, Plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success in procuring a judgment declaring the Order is being applied arbitrarily across Florida.”
Dodson concluded that the state’s order violates the Florida state constitution “to the extent it arbitrarily disregards safety, denies local school boards decision making with respect to reopening brick and mortar schools, and conditions funding on an approved reopening plan with a start date in August.” Having found that the plaintiffs are likely to win at trial, the judge issued a temporary injunction that strikes down the controversial portions of the state’s school-reopening order.
Gee, guv, I think that this ruling will leave a mark.