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Coronavirus concerns continue to disrupt Florida schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

The coronavirus continues to disrupt usual operations of Florida’s schools. Through it all, students, teachers and families look for ways to work through the restrictions. It’s not been easy. But they’re finding work-throughs, some of which were on display Friday night. Read on for the latest.

Fans came out for Friday night lights. High school football kicked off across the Tampa Bay area. Marching bands played a more muted role than usual, while continuing preparations for when more limitations are lifted.

School nurses play a more critical role than ever. Pinellas County has endeavored to ensure there’s one on every campus.

Everyone anticipated cases in classrooms. Some districts have adopted a more “surgical” approach to quarantining. • A group of Alachua County parents is raising privacy concerns related to free virus testing for their children, the Gainesville Sun reports. • The Orange County school district has decided to test every football player using its federal CARES Act funds, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • Volusia County school district officials pledge more transparency on virus-related matters, but information remains hard to come by, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The district will not say how many staff and students are required to quarantine, the News-Journal reports. • Bus drivers and other school employees say they’re not provided information about cases that might affect them, Daily Beast reports.

Don’t forget about that other kind of testing. Some of the state exams that the coronavirus pandemic canceled in the spring are back this month, as the state didn’t waive its graduation test-related requirements.

The costs of containment are high. The financial pressure, along with others, has Hillsborough County school district top officials talking about the need for major staffing cuts.

Hillsborough County Schools superintendent Addison Davis at a meeting to update principals on upcoming staffing changes. Shown: Chief of Staff Michael McAuley, Chief of Schools Kim Bays. Davis talked about the need to cut spending and reduce staff. [ Courtesy of Hillsborough County Public Schools ]

Virtual learning continues to have its glitches. The model continues to improve daily in Collier County schools, the Naples Daily News reports. The Collier district is looking to grow its eAcademy, the Daily News reports. • In Marion County, district leaders are talking about rules to deal with inappropriate parent behavior that students can see online, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Teachers are trying to navigate the intricacies of doing their job with all the new protocols and procedures. Keeping calm is key, the Herald-Tribune reports.

South Florida schools are preparing to open their doors as their coronavirus Phase 1 restrictions are lifted. Palm Beach County principals say they’re not ready, the Palm Beach Post reports. Meanwhile, about 5,000 students with special needs may begin their return on Wednesday, the Post reports. • Miami-Dade County superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he will announce when parents can send their children before the end of September, the News Service of Florida reports. More from the Miami Herald. Carvalho talked about the district’s situation on WPLG’s This Week in South Florida.

Duval County schools are transitioning to full-time in-person classes for students who requested them. The plan starts with sixth graders, and it’s got some people worried they can’t have adequate social distancing, the Florida Times-Union reports.

They’re back. Two central Florida schools reopen after sending all students to remote learning because of COVID-19, WFTV reports.

His friends told him he couldn’t win. Rodney Wells took the challenge and became the first Black senior class president in Jacksonville Bishop Kenny High’s history, WTLV reports.

A Brevard County school is preparing to change its “Indians” mascot. A School Board member wants the district to intervene and slow the process, Florida Today reports.

From the campaign trail ... Party politics is infiltrating the nonpartisan race for Pinellas School Board District 1.

Florida State University is looking for a new president. John Thrasher is retiring after six years on the job.

From the police blotter ... A Nassau County student is arrested on allegations of bringing three handguns to school, the Associated Press reports. • A Manatee County teenager is arrested on allegations of bringing a loaded handgun and drugs to an elementary school campus, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Tropical Storm Sally threatens. Escambia and Santa Rosa county schools will close Monday, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Before you go ... It’s not just Sally out there. Florida is keeping watch on several Atlantic storms, too. Get your supplies, test your generator and stay vigilant.

Tropical Storm Sally formed Saturday and is expected to continue strengthening as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico and away from Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. [ National Hurricane Center ]

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