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Student moves between in-person, online fluster schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

With situations continually changing, Florida children have continued to move between face-to-face and remote learning like never before. Sometimes, it’s their own choosing. Other times, the switch is imposed, the result of positive coronavirus cases and resulting quarantines. Then there’s the counties still finding their way back to “bricks and mortar” after weeks spent away, waiting for the virus to recede. It’s creating confusion and, in some instances, chaos for just about everyone involved. Read on for the latest.

Where have all the students gone? Enrollment in Tampa Bay area school districts is thousands of children below projections.

One can’t help but wonder how many will head back to south Florida schools as they open their doors. Superintendent Robert Runcie set an Oct. 5 reopening date for those who want to end their remote learning. the Sun-Sentinel reports. Many teachers and parents worry the coronavirus remains a risk, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • Palm Beach County’s plan to open campuses on Monday is in chaos, the Palm Beach Post reports. The county’s public health director raised concerns that the return to in-person classes could accelerate the spread of COVID-19, the Post reports. Meanwhile, questions are mounting about how teachers will conduct classes that mix online and in-person students, WPEC reports.

Maybe a return to at-home learning is a better choice for you. Duval County families will have a chance to change their enrollment options the nine week window approaches, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Some kids just want back in the game. But if it’s not football, some Palm Beach County students feel slighted by their district’s approach to fall sports, WPTV reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel. • As for football, Tampa Bay school district leaders said their first weekend of games saw most people following the coronavirus-inspired rules.

Not all teachers are returning. A substitute teacher shortage isn’t helping, WPEC reports.

The government program provides free lunches in schools that qualify, regardless of a student's family income. State agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried wants to boost the program with CARES Act funding.
The government program provides free lunches in schools that qualify, regardless of a student's family income. State agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried wants to boost the program with CARES Act funding. [ STEVEN SENNE | Associated Press ]

How is Florida using its CARES Act money? State agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried wants to steer millions to school meal programs, WUSF reports.

One of the prominent uses of the federal funds has been masks. The Sarasota County School Board is poised to keep its mask mandate in place for the entire school year, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Lawsuits fighting such requirements have popped up all over the nation, including in Florida, The 74 reports.

It’s time for those promised benchmark assessments. Some Seminole County parents are upset that their children, who are taking classes remotely, are being told to come to schools for the tests, WFTV reports.

Case counts continue in the schools. More than 54,400 Florida children under 17 have tested positive since March, WKMG reports. • But in some instances, not everyone is being informed. Lake County schools failed to notify parents that an employee at their children’s elementary school had tested positive, WFTV reports. District officials said it was an accidental oversight.

It’s not all bad. The principal of Destin Middle School says the first two weeks back on the Okaloosa County campus have gone surprisingly well, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

You know you missed the comment section. The Volusia County School Board will reopen its meetings to the public for the first time since March, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

In the courts ... The 1st District Court of Appeal heard arguments on the 2018 case challenging the state’s school guardian law. The Duval County complaint contends people who aren’t sworn law enforcement shouldn’t be allowed to carry weapons at schools, the News Service of Florida reports. • After not being selected to serve on the state Supreme Court, two 1st DCA judges declined to step aside in the Florida Education Association’s lawsuit fighting the state’s school reopening order, the News Service of Florida reports. • An arbitrator rules a Broward County deputy who hid and then ran away from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High should be reinstated, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

From the campaign trail ... Race and party politics have infiltrated the campaign for an open seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board, the Miami Herald reports. • The Brevard County school district has launched an informational web site to explain its referendum seeking to extend a local-option sales tax, Space Coast Daily reports. • Duval County residents are pushing for a local sales tax referendum to help repair crumbling schools, WJXT reports.

They’re still closed. Several north Florida school districts need time to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

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