Florida ’s main teacher ’s union on Monday sued Governor Ron DeSantis and other authorities to stop schools from reopening in August , as the state has become a US epicentre of the COVID – 19 pandemic.
The Florida Education Association , which represents 140 ,000 teachers , says the state constitution asserts that schools must provide a “safe and secure ” environment , but that the COVID – 19 resurgence “is remarkable and out of control. ”
Florida reported 10 ,347 new COVID – 19 cases and 90 deaths on Monday , bringing the total death toll to 5 ,072 .
More than 9 ,500 novel coronavirus patients have been hospitalized and just 18 per cent of intensive care beds are available , officials say .
DeSantis “needs a reality check ,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram.
“Everyone wants schools to reopen , but we don ’t want to begin in -person teaching , face an explosion of cases and sickness, then be forced to return to distance learning ,” he said .
The lawsuit calls on DeSantis , state education commissioner Richard Corcoran and the mayor of Miami county to desist “from unnecessarily and unconstitutionally forcing millions of public- school students and employees to report to unsafe brick and mortar schools . ”
On July 6 , Corcoran ordered schools to reopen for the academic year that begins in August , unleashing a tsunami of protests from parents , teachers and paediatricians .
DeSantis said that children have a low probability of contracting COVID – 19 , without mentioning that even asymptomatic children can infect adults .
He also said that he would have no problem sending his kids to school — if he had school -age children .
– Demand for plasma –
The situation is so dire that DeSantis pleaded for COVID -19 survivors to donate blood plasma to help save lives , as supplies of antiviral drugs run short .
The governor , who has come under fire for his handling of the public health response and his opposition to ordering people to wear face masks , was interrupted by protesters chanting, “You’re lying ,” as he made the appeal at the OneBlood donor centre in Orlando .
Raising his voice over activists banging at the door , DeSantis called on Floridians to take tests for antibodies and to donate plasma if they test positive .
“There are people that had this with no symptoms a month or two ago that will have antibodies that can be used for this , ” the Republican governor said .
Lines of people hoping to get tested , however , can stretch for almost a mile , and the results take seven to 10 days to come back, during which time contagious people can easily infect others .
Plasma transfers have shown encouraging results in hospital patients , as the so -called “convalescent plasma ” can be used to help infected people develop antibodies that stay in their own blood .
“The demand is currently unprecedented , it’s a revolving door ,” said OneBlood president George Scholl .
“As quickly as the plasma comes in, it goes back out because that is the importance of the need, ” he said .