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July 24, 2020

The statewide Florida Education Association teachers’ union is suing the State Department of Education. Ryan Dailey reports the suit challenges the agency’s mandate to school districts that they open brick and mortar campuses in the fall.

As schools look into potential reopening plans this fall, the question of whether to require masks has become a central part of the discussion. Some parents have raised concerns about whether face coverings are safe. Robbie Gaffney looks into those concerns and turns to medical experts for answers.

And schools aren’t the only institutions facing a potential flood of infections. As Florida’s coronavirus cases break national records, health workers say they’re feeling the strain. While most hospitals still have room to take in more patients, Health News Florida’s Stephanie Columbini reports some doctors and nurses say they’re being pushed to their limits.

The total number of COVID-19 cases connected to Florida’s correctional facilities is nearing 5,000. Concern about the health of inmates has led to calls for Governor Ron DeSantis and local law enforcement authorities to release those behind bars. Community activist groups say holding people in facilities with coronavirus outbreaks to equate to death sentences for some inmates. But law enforcement officials say the safety of community members has to be considered as well. Blaise Gainey has more on what’s being done.

Across Florida, election supervisors are relieved that a potentially disruptive lawsuit has been settled out-of-court without jeopardizing existing deadlines for counting ballots and reporting results. Steve Bousquet reports that advocates who brought the lawsuit are claiming victory, but much of what they got in the deal is already being done.

Although the stresses being incurred by Florida families has gone up, the number of child abuse cases being reported to the state’s Child Abuse Hotline has gone down. Tom Flanigan spoke with the head of the regional Children’s Home Society about the apparent disconnect.