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Coronavirus-prompted online learning challenges Florida schools

A roundup of education stories from around the state.
Pasco County Schools opened meal distribution sites at seven Pasco County schools for students who could come to the to pick them up. Here, Food and Nutrition Services assistant, Tracey Carodza, (left) and principal Jason Joens (right) roll out a cart of pre-packaged meals to the school car loop. [MICHELE MILLER | Times]

No one said moving to distance learning would be easy. Some kids have no computers. Others have no internet access. But even those with both in the nation’s seventh largest school district struggled to participate in the system’s trial run on Monday. Read on for that and more Florida education news. • Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Sign up our newsletter at this link. If you have any questions, comments or story ideas, send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff

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Good thing they took more time for planning. The Hillsborough County school district’s soft launch of distance learning didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Superintendent Addison Davis urged students, parents and staff to keep calm while working through the kinks. • Hillsborough wasn’t the only district to face some challenges. They happened in Duval and Sumter counties, too.

‘This helps.’ Schools throughout Florida began providing free meals for children 18 and under. Families were thankful for the support.

Some folks couldn’t make it to the schools with the food. Other Tampa Bay area agencies stepped in to fill the gap.

Are you staying at home? It appears to be your choice in many parts of Florida, where neither the state nor Hillsborough County support shelter-in-place orders. Pinellas County officials are expected to consider the idea next. Be healthy.

Want more coronavirus news? The Tampa Bay Times is providing all its latest stories about the pandemic online free of charge as a public service. You always could subscribe, too.

What’s on kids’ minds? Florida teens are finding plenty of things to do while stuck at home because of social distancing. School too, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Seniors definitely want to celebrate graduation. Okaloosa County’s superintendent has a plan for that, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Completely closed. One Manatee County high school tells all staff to stay away after a COVID-19 case is connected to the campus, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Anyone have 11,000 computers lying around? Palm Beach County schools could use them, the Palm Beach Post reports.

So you can’t go to Central Florida’s attractions. They’re ready to come to you with online lessons, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Be careful out there. Law enforcement officials are warning parents to keep an eye on what sites and apps their children are using while online for their education, WTLV reports.

Gov. DeSantis said school boards can meet virtually. But is the Lee County board’s plan in violation of the Sunshine Law? The Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Hey teachers! Looking for a way to create videos for your online courses? Click on the video below from a fellow educator who offers one simple way to do it.

And in non-virus education news ...

Vaping has been a problem in schools. That’s why lawmakers passed a bill adding more restrictions on the sale and purchase of vape materials to minors, Florida Phoenix reports. The measure awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature.

That’s about it. So how about Neil Diamond’s new acoustic version of Sweet Caroline, revised for the new world order? Click it, you’ll like it.

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