Thomas C. Tobin - Topics Editor

Topics Editor

No one is luckier than I am. As an assistant metro editor, I practice journalism every day with a talented team of writers who cover news about education, health and transportation. A mix of veterans and newer faces, they bring a passion to their work that makes me proud and helps keep our community better informed. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., but Tampa Bay and I go way back. When I got here in the late 1980s, our state was just coming into its own as the economic, political and cultural powerhouse it is today. Since then I've covered local and state government, legal issues and education. I have traveled across Florida as the Times state reporter and even delved into the world of Scientology. Each day I learn from people. Reach out and tell me something.

  1. From left, teacher Tara Hernandez and students Angel Lozano and Dominic Cuahutenango wear masks and practice social distancing during a summer program this year at Redlands Christian Migrant Association Academy in Wimauma. Similar practices will be used when the regular school year starts in late August. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  Times]
  2. Sunlake High senior Anna Nelson cleaned out her locker on May 26 as the 2019-20 school year came to a close amid a shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis. A new year starts soon, with Tampa Bay area school districts having moved their start dates to late August as the virus continues to make scheduling difficult. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
  3. The 2020-21 school year will start Aug. 24, the Pinellas County School Board decided Tuesday evening, a move that buys the district more time to figure out the logistics of offering two kinds of schooling. The original start date was Aug. 12. [Times (2006)]
  4. Pinellas County school superintendent Mike Grego, citing coronavirus concerns, is proposing that schools reopen on Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 12.
  5. Ezequiel Mezquite, 20, of Clearwater, faces charges of DUI and possession of marijuana, according to Clearwater police. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  6. Students from Hernando County's Central High line up on graduation day. [Times (2008)]
  7. University of South Florida president Steve Currall, left, and St. Petersburg College president Tonjua Williams have released statements on the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests that have ensued. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times 2019 / Times (2017)]
  8. In a time before social distancing, these graduates at Tampa's Carrollwood Day School stood together and threw their caps in celebration. The world is counting on a return to those days. [Times (2013)]
  9. This is the way it used to look when students lined up for graduation at Pasco High, before social distancing. For now, Pasco schools are holding virtual graduations, but officials say they want to hold in-person graduations in August if conditions regarding the coronavirus allow it. [Times (2006)]
  10. Madison Hickey, along with 137 other seniors from Clearwater Central Catholic High, participated in a social distancing graduation on Sunday. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  11. The Gibbs High Class of 2018 celebrated after graduation ceremonies at Tropicana Field, where the Pinellas County school system typically holds most of its graduations. In this most atypical of school years, district officials say they are discussing the possibility of in-person ceremonies at the indoor stadium this summer, providing conditions with the coronavirus allow it. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times (2018)]
  12. Parents, family and friends observe social distancing guidelines while attending the senior graduation car parade May 1 at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  13. This time last year, graduates from Durant High received their diplomas at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa. Hillsborough County school officials have reserved the facility for July with the hope of having in-person ceremonies, if conditions with the coronavirus allow it. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times (2019)]
  14. Pinellas County and other school districts are distributing free, prepackaged breakfast and lunch meals during the coronavirus crisis. Pinellas announced Saturday that it will help slow the spread of the virus by reducing distribution days while still giving out the same number of meals. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
  15. The Durant High School Class of 2019 waits to receive their diplomas during a ceremony last May at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa. This year, despite the coronavirus, officials in Hillsborough and other area counties are hoping conditions allow for commencement ceremonies to be held. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  16. A view of Plant Hall at the University of Tampa, where officials announced Friday that a student living off campus had tested positive for COVID-19. [Times (2012)]
  17. The emergency entrance to St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, part of the BayCare Health System, which on Friday announced changes to its policies on visitors and drive-through testing. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
  18. A number of "non essential" medical procedures, including non-urgent dental work, are prohibited under a new order by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. [Times (2013)]
  19. Practicing proper hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly, is a good way to protect against sickness. The widening spread of coronavirus in recent days has prompted Pinellas County school officials to step up cleaning efforts on campuses. [Shutterstock]
  20. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Tampa Bay Times]
  21. An artist's rendering shows one view of Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg after a $28 million renovation. Work is expected to start in February 2021. The Pinellas County School Board approved a contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to work on the project. [Pinellas County Schools]
  22. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county. [Times (2011)]
  23. The process for getting into a Pinellas County school choice program is in its final phase, the "acceptance period," which expires at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 for the 2020-21 academic year. [Times (2006)]