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Teacher groups keep pushing to change Florida’s school opening plans

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

Florida’s teacher associations are taking a vocal advocacy role throughout the state’s efforts to provide in-person education during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve seen them criticize safety measures in Miami-Dade and Broward, fight “simultaneous” learning in Pinellas and Sarasota, call for the superintendent’s removal in Palm Beach. Today, the Florida Education Association has scheduled a virtual news conference to offer recommendations to state officials “to address the chaos and instability we see in Florida’s public schools.” Those state officials aren’t likely listening, though. They’re the same ones that keep pushing to end the union’s lawsuit challenging the Department of Education’s reopening order. Read on for the latest on that lawsuit and other Florida education news.

Haven’t they concluded that school reopening lawsuit yet? The state has filed new motions challenging the plaintiffs' standing to bring the complaint in the first place.

Combating COVID-19 has become a costly experiment for schools. Sarasota’s $700,000 purchase of plastic desk shields isn’t working out as planned, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Masks make it difficult for crossing guards to use their whistles. In Hillsborough County, they’re using handheld electronic sirens instead.

The goal was to get teachers to schedule their online assignments early. The $1.57 million “incentive” from a vendor to the Miami-Dade superintendent’s nonprofit foundation has raised questions, including from the district inspector general, the Miami Herald reports.

Schools' coronavirus cases might be undercounted. Students who are exposed to positive cases are not required to test while quarantined, WFTX reports. • Every school in Hendry County has some students under quarantine, WBBH reports.

Alayne Unterberger, director of Florida Institute for Community Studies, helps Jordon Montañez, 13, participate in eLearning from a lab space at the nonprofit based in Tampa as he and other Hillsborough County students begin the first day of school virtually on Monday, August 24, 2020. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Independent virtual school doesn’t work for everyone. The Charlotte County school district has added a new e-learning model more closely attached to their schools, the Sun reports. • The Manatee County school district has asked parents to provide feedback on how the year has gone for their children so far, the Bradenton Herald reports. • The Volusia County school district placed a moratorium on students switching their schooling option, because of the scheduling chaos it created, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Remote learning has schools finding where their technology is falling short. Marion County teachers are having trouble keeping their online students muted during lessons, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Many school districts want to have one nurse per school during the pandemic. To get there, the Orange County district would need to hire 70, WKMG reports.

Changing school mascots is never easy. A Brevard County high school is taking hits from all sides as it considers dropping its “Indian” nickname, Florida Today reports.

What to do when emergency strikes? Lake County schools will receive “go kits” from their local education foundation, the Daily Commercial reports.

Look who’s offering advice on Florida’s curriculum. Hillsdale College, a conservative private Michigan institution with connections to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been invited to help review the state’s civics standards, the Hillsdale Collegian reports.

They really want their referendum to pass. Supporters of a Duval County schools sales tax proposal have contributed more than $1 million to its campaign, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Across the bargaining table ... Brevard County teachers are poised to receive paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child, Space Coast Daily reports. • Osceola County teacher contract talks have stalled over salaries, the Osceola News-Gazette reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

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