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How can you teach band when the band’s not there?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
This is what high school bands do in normal times. Coronavirus has changed everything for the hands-on electives.
This is what high school bands do in normal times. Coronavirus has changed everything for the hands-on electives. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Apr. 13, 2020

Well, we’ve been at this version of schooling for three weeks now. Call it distance learning, coerced education or what you will — there have been plenty of names for it. And we’re seeing high participation numbers reported, whatever they really mean. So as everyone settles in, for better or worse, few seem enthusiastic about reopening campuses any time soon. Have you signed the petition? Read on for that and more Florida education news.

Some classes are meant to be hands-on. But teachers of auto mechanics, band, cosmetology and other electives are finding ways to keep lessons meaningful. • A group of Palm Beach County art history students are doing some cool assignments to pass the time, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The numbers look good on paper. Hillsborough County schools report 99 percent participation in distance learning. It’s not close to the same as attending classes. But it’s much better than the national trend, where participation is much lower, NPR reports.

Kids will still get the same amount of food. But the Pinellas and Hillsborough school districts will reduce the number of distribution days, to keep potential virus exposures to a minimum.

Yes, people under 25 have died. Gov. DeSantis was just wrong about that.

His ideas about possibly reopening schools soon haven’t gotten positive reviews, either. Ask Dr. Fauci, as Politico reports.

So just stay home. Some parents have started an online petition to keep campuses closed, WBBH reports.

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.

President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [ EVAN VUCCI | AP ]

The projects will go on. Sixteen Hillsborough County schools air conditioning overhauls remain on track. But shrinking tax revenue because of coronavirus could place future repairs in jeopardy.

The refund is in the mail. Collier County high schools cancel their proms and grad bashes, but haven’t decided how to handle graduations, the Naples Daily News reports. • Most senior events are off in Polk County, too, the Ledger reports.

Yes, they’re still talking about a spring sports season. At least playoffs, anyway, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

What’s school without grades? During distance learning, it’s better, nearly 100,000 Floridians say in an online petition, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Some schools got a late start on the distance model. Leon County teachers will begin leading classes Monday after letting parents do review work with their children for two weeks, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

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Keep your comments to yourself. Sarasota County School Board members get a reminder that commenting on each other’s social media posts could be seen as violating Florida’s Sunshine Law, the Englewood Sun reports.

There are still superintendent searches. Thousands of Sarasota residents say in a survey they want a district leader who can help everyone get along, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Marion County aims to have its first appointed chief executive picked by Tuesday afternoon, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

And board meetings. The Manatee County board will hold its second session since the emergency, with close to $30 million in contracts up for consideration, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Keep on working. The Citrus County school district takes steps to keep as many employees on the job as possible, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

No more block schedules. Most Lee County high schools will abandon the model when they return to their campuses, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

They’re still finding time to revoke educators’ certification. A former Leon County principal is among the latest, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Before you go ... It was just a matter of time before Randy Newman weighed in on the pandemic. The man who’s brought us his wry political insights and his inspirational children’s anthems offers his latest, Stay Away. Enjoy.

To keep up on the latest stories from around Florida, visit the Tampa Bay Times Gradebook. Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Know someone who might want to sign up for the Gradebook newsletter? Share this link. We want to hear your remote learning survival stories. Send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff