As the new school year approached, parents across Florida faced a key question: Would their children attend classes in person or online? It wasn’t an easy decision. On the one hand, the pandemic created health and safety worries. On the other, the threat of falling behind without direct, face-to-face instruction raised other concerns. Well, the question is back, as the first nine weeks rolls to an end for several districts that told parents they could reconsider each quarter. South Florida families also need to answer as their schools open classrooms for the first time. Read on for the latest.
After weeks taking classes from home, some students are ready to get back to school. Pinellas County district officials said they’ll work to accommodate everyone. • The Palm Beach and Broward districts are asking students to lock in their choices for the rest of the semester, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Getting information about coronavirus cases is key. Dissatisfied with their school’s data, University of South Florida students decided to create their own database. • The Polk County school district began releasing information after receiving several requests, the Ledger reports. • A newly released state dashboard contradicts some districts' case information, the Capitol News Service reports.
Preparing for the new approach to classes isn’t easy. Frustrated Marion County teachers are set to receive added help from the school district, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. • Escambia County schools, which also had to cope with a hurricane, are revisiting their policies and procedures, WKRG reports. • As the pandemic led districts to modify their structures, some teachers have been assigned courses they’re not certified to teach, TC Palm reports.
The mixing of online and in-person students has been particularly vexing. St. Johns County teachers received an extra hour weekly for planning to deal with the demands, but they say that isn’t enough to relieve the workload, the St. Augustine Record reports.
Teachers get money each year to help pay for classroom supplies. They’re finding items such as sanitizing wipes and plexiglass dividers aren’t covered, WLRN reports.
Universities are taking extra steps to prevent virus spread on campus. Florida State and Florida A&M announced they will cancel spring break and end the semester a week early instead, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
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They’re still fighting. Palm Beach County teachers who lost their effort to stop their district from opening classrooms have asked for another hearing, WPEC reports. • Many Palm Beach teachers haven’t shown up for work, for a variety of reasons. The district is struggling to find substitutes to fill the spots, WPTV reports.
About that pay raise the state promised ... Negotiators in Brevard County are struggling to find a way to extend the offer to veteran teachers, who weren’t included in the allocation, Florida Today reports.
The state created an Office of Safe Schools to ensure schools comply with safety requirements. An audit states the office didn’t carry out all its responsibilities, the Associated Press reports.
Speaking of security ... A Collier County school is the first in Florida to have a police dog assigned to it, WINK reports.
There’s been much talk nationwide about dropping Confederate school names. The Duval County school district is one of the few across the country to actually do it, Education Week reports.
Let them run. The Leon County Commission drops testing requirements that had threatened the state high school cross country championships, WTXL reports.
Black lives matter. A Broward County middle school teacher has resigned rather than remove from her classroom a flag saying so, WPLG reports.
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Before you go ... It’s been a crazy week. Just take a moment of Zen. You deserve it.