Special Alert – May 13, 2020
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Florida Commissioner of Education Issues Emergency Order
Suspending Numerous Deadlines

Earlier today, Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran issued an Emergency Order (DOE Order No. 2020-EO-02) suspending select Florida Statutes and rules “in order to respond to and to mitigate the impacts of the emergency and to promote the health, safety and welfare of persons connected with Florida’s education system.” The Emergency Order addresses numerous education deadlines related to, among other areas, exceptional student education, teacher certification, distance learning programs, school district/superintendent required certifications, and assessments. The wide-ranging Emergency Order impacts VPK, K-12 and postsecondary matters.

Of note, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos already stated on April 27, 2020, that she will not seek further waivers from Congress related to the Free Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”) and Least Restrictive Environment (“LRE”) provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), so it will be interesting to see how other states and Congress address potential IDEA waivers. Interestingly, the Emergency Order makes clear that the suspension of IDEA-related deadlines are “subject to federal approval…,” suggesting that although the Emergency Order allows for the extension of certain IDEA-related deadlines, such extensions are still subject to federally-approved flexibility.

We strongly recommend that all education professionals review the Emergency Order as soon as possible.  The Emergency Order is available at the following link: Emergency Order.