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Political pressure forces remaining Florida schools to open

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Students congregate on campus before the doors open during the first day of school for Pasco County Schools. The debate over whether students should attend in-person or remotely continues.
Students congregate on campus before the doors open during the first day of school for Pasco County Schools. The debate over whether students should attend in-person or remotely continues. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Oct. 2, 2020

Florida political observers figured that if ever there were a place to fight the state over school reopening, it would be the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Facing the threat of lost funding into the millions, though, they gave in to demands that they resume in-person classes. Some called it “extortion,” as Politico Florida reports, but they didn’t see other good choices. Meanwhile, some districts are already talking about what they’ll do in January when the Department of Education’s emergency order on reopening expires. Read on for the latest.

Pressured by the state, Miami-Dade County schools begin reopening on Monday. Students and parents are scrambling to get ready, WTVJ reports. Medical experts worry that COVID-19 could regain strength in the area as schools and restaurants rush toward full service sooner than expected, the Miami Herald reports.

The Broward County School Board also agreed to return to classrooms earlier than planned. It met the Department of Education half way, citing concerns with losing millions if it didn’t, the Miami Herald reports. Education commissioner Richard Corcoran approved the deal but doesn’t agree with it, WLRN reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel. Only about one-third of students are expected to attend face-to-face classes, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Lock it in. Palm Beach County schools have asked parents to make schooling decisions for the next quarter, so they can match remote students with remote teachers whenever possible, the Palm Beach Post reports. • More than 90 percent of Walton County students are attending in-person classes, WMBB reports.

After the second quarter ends, all bets are off. Collier County schools officials say they will end live remote classes after the first semester, WBBH reports.

The University of South Florida faces millions in budget cuts. Its top administrators will share the pain with salary reductions.

No break for you! The University of Miami and Florida International University join the growing list of schools canceling spring vacation to prevent students from leaving and returning to campus with COVID-19, the Miami Herald reports.

The potential for crowded beaches like this has prompted universities to cancel spring break for 2021. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
The potential for crowded beaches like this has prompted universities to cancel spring break for 2021. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

‘It’s not even close.' Leon County school district officials say the state’s COVID-19 school database doesn’t include many known cases, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • The Florida Education Association launched a new 30-second video slamming the state for lacking transparency, Florida Politics reports.

Where have all the children gone? School officials across the nation, including Florida, head into rural communities to find them, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Families still are struggling. The Citrus County school district has extended its free meal delivery program through the end of the year, Bay News 9 reports.

Florida Virtual’s long-time lawyer was pushed out amid a criminal investigation. No charges resulted, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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Habla español? A dual-language Montessori school is on tap for Polk County, the Ledger reports.

“It’s really about acceptance.” The Lee County School Board will consider recognizing October as LGBT History Month, WFTX reports.

The Orange County school district should be able to achieve a base teacher pay of $47,500. Raises for other educators are looking less likely, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

He’s ready to go. The Martin County School Board approved a three-year contract for new superintendent John Millay, TC Palm reports.

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

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