Alachua County Public Schools files challenge to DOH rule
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Alachua County Public Schools is one of six Florida school districts filing a joint challenge to the latest Florida Department of Health (FDOH) emergency rule preventing districts from adopting universal masking protocols and requiring students who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home. The petition can be read here.
The counties are Alachua, Broward, Duval, Leon, Orange, and Miami-Dade. The petition challenges Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-15 as an “invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority” and says the rule is “actually focused not on controlling COVID-19 but rather on protecting parental rights. The DOH does not have rulemaking authority in this area, and thus exceeded its rulemaking authority.”
Among other claims, the petition says that FDOH did not undergo the regular rulemaking process, that FDOH has exceeded its rulemaking authority, that the opt-out provisions improperly go beyond the provisions in the Parental Bill of Rights, and that the opt-out requirements are vague and “arbitrary or capricious.”
The petition asks the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) to enter an order ruling that the opt-out requirements “constitute an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority” and award costs and attorneys’ fees to the districts.
The districts filed a similar challenge to the previous emergency rule, but that challenge was dismissed when the previous rule was replaced by the current rule a few days before the scheduled DOAH hearing.
Shouldn’t they have filed the challenge prior to breaking the rules?
Fine example SBAC leadership is setting for the children we are entrusting them with.