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DeSantis Defends Reopening Schools, Says State Will Prevail In Lawsuit

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium

Gov. Ron DeSantis said a report that detailed coronavirus cases at schools is "inaccurate."

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state will prevail in a lawsuit over reopening schools.

This week, a judge sided with teachers unions that challenged the Florida Department of Education’s order that schools must open for face-to-face instruction. The state appealed the decision, but a judge on Thursday vacated an automatic stay of the order.

Speaking at a news conference in Tampa, DeSantis said parents should have the option to send their children to school.

“Every superintendent I've talked to said that the going back the first day was one of the best days they can remember in their career,” DeSantis said. “A lot of students were happy and I know a lot of parents have been happy to have that choice.”

DeSantis also said a report compiled by his administration that detailed coronavirus cases linked to schools “was not necessarily accurate" and remains under review.

According to News Service of Florida, he report was requested by Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees, a DeSantis appointee who also serves as the state’s attorney general.

Health department spokesman Alberto Moscoso told News Service of Florida that the report was “inadvertently” released to the public on Monday and no longer available.

DeSantis said the data was “misrepresented” to the public.

“It was acting like this was something that was triggered by the school year, which is totally not true,” DeSantis said. “If you take some of those cases at face value, those would have been infections that would have happened long before that.”

Thursday’s ruling means local school districts have the authority to open or close schools based on conditions, but the state can still appeal this decision.

The Hillsborough County School Board, which drew opposition from the state when it wanted to hold classes only online for the first four weeks of the school year, is scheduled to meet Friday morning to discuss the issue.

Information from News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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