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In-person classes draw more Florida students back to school

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

Florida students have attended classes for nearly a quarter now. Some of them are having second thoughts about the schooling model they’ve picked. Many districts are giving them a chance to change. And the kids are taking them up on the offer, by the thousands. Some, meanwhile, are having shifts forced upon them. Read on for the latest.

Close to 14,000 Pinellas County students decided to return to classrooms for the next nine weeks. A team of local medical experts said it’s safe. • Other Tampa area districts also are seeing increased numbers heading back, WFLA reports. • Leon County schools expect the same, and say they’ll still have room for social distancing, WTXL reports. • Escambia County families are still making their second quarter choices, WKRG reports.

Miami-Dade County schools reopened last week. Days later, the district’s MAST Academy magnet school returned to distance learning until further notice, the Miami Herald reports.

Florida has some of the largest districts in the nation to offer in-person classes. State education leaders are offering advice to others who are likely to follow, Education Week reports.

For some families, Florida beckons. Florida private schools such as Berkeley Prep in Tampa are among those nationwide seeing a surge in interest from wealthy families in other states hit hard by the coronavirus, the NY Times reports.

Whose rules? When it comes to taking classes at home, questions have arisen in Florida and elsewhere about how far schools can go in enforcing their behavior expectations, the Associated Press reports.

Masks remain contentious. The Indian River County School Board is set to debate whether to keep its mask mandate in place, TC Palm reports. At least one board member has said the rule seems to violate a parent’s right to decide what’s best for his or her own children.

Let them play. The Manatee County school district started letting elementary school children use playground equipment again, the Bradenton Herald reports.

FILE- In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school.
FILE- In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school. [ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]

The Broward County school district unveiled the newest wing of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. The only plaque named School Board members, not victims of the 2018 mass shooting there, and that’s causing some anger, WTSP reports.

Election Day is fast approaching. Some Nassau County schools will have students stay home while voters use the campuses to cast their ballots, the Nassau County Record reports.

From the campaign trail ... The Brevard County school district is looking into accusations that a state House member used its logo in ads attacking his opponent, Florida Today reports.

School district grading continues. Even without student testing data, the Florida Department of Education continued to rate the state’s school districts in 2019-20. The Walton County district made the “academically high performing” list for the first time since 2012, WMBB reports.

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

Before you go ... Some of us still fondly remember Doin' the Pigeon from Sesame Street. This new pigeon music video puts a little more funk into the bird’s step. Thoughts?

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