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Anger mounts over school layoffs, masks and other coronavirus decisions

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

The current school year has been filled with the uncertainty of coronavirus cases, quarantines and all the related class issues. Stack on top of that financial struggles, and some districts face some significant decisions that have the potential to further stir up employees, parents and students alike. That’s been the case in Hillsborough County, where officials have started cutting positions to save money at the expense, some say, of needed stability. That’s not the only thing upsetting some people these days. Read on for that and other Florida education news.

Nearly 800 jobs are on the chopping block in Florida’s third-largest school district. Several petitions are circulating in opposition to the proposal, and a protest is planned.

Speaking of controversies ... The Sarasota County School Board is set to decide whether to adopt a long-term mask policy, and lots of parents don’t want it, the Herald-Tribune reports. • The Volusia County School Board also will consider extending its mask mandate, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Some Monroe County parents have started a petition to make masks optional in schools, the Key West Citizen reports.

School reopening has become teacher unions' line in the sand. In Florida and elsewhere, the organizations have taken a hard-line stance on the subject, with varying degrees of success, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. • One big concern has been the ability to work from home if needed. In Palm Beach County, some principals have been much more flexible than others, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Welcome back. More than 10,000 students plan to return to in-person instruction for Lee County’s second quarter of classes, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Stay home. A Duval County school extends online learning after closing because of a spate of coronavirus cases, the Florida Times-Union reports. • The Manatee County school district reported its highest number of positive cases in a single day since reopening, the Bradenton Herald reports. • A Brevard County high school quarantined its football team for two weeks after a positive virus test was connected to the team, WKMG reports.

Landon Rancke, left, and his big brother, Ryan Rancke work together to set up a computer for online learning. Both are students in the Pinellas County school system.
Landon Rancke, left, and his big brother, Ryan Rancke work together to set up a computer for online learning. Both are students in the Pinellas County school system. [ Courtesy of Kristin Rancke ]

What’d he say? Before being sworn in, newly elected Sarasota County School Board member Tom Edwards faces calls for his removal over past comments calling Trump supporters ‘Nazis,’ the Herald-Tribune reports.

Close, or we’ll do it for you. A Lee County charter school that opened this year for 12 days before being closed by the district has asked for the opportunity to voluntarily shut itself down instead, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Pick a calendar, any calendar. Broward County parents get to vote on when the next school year should begin, and how long Thanksgiving break should be, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Never mind. The Broward County district has withdrawn a recommendation to promote a principal who appeared not to meet all qualifications to a top administrative post, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

From the court docket ... The organizer of Bradford County’s Special Olympics has sued the school district’s superintendent based on a conflict at a March school board meeting, WJXT reports. Expletives were involved.

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

Before you go ... Disney parody alert, with the mask message coming through loud and clear. Stay healthy.

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