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Coronavirus cases are rising in Florida schools. What will they do?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

Coronavirus cases have taken an upward turn throughout state in recent weeks. As school officials have noted, cases don’t necessarily originate on the campuses. But the rates at schools do reflect what’s happening in the larger community, they contend. Schools are trying to deal with the situation. Read on for the latest on this and other Florida education news.

The increase in students testing positive has raised concerns among school officials. They’re encouraging safe and responsible behavior outside of school. • Sarasota County schools reported their highest number of cases since classes resumed, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Cases are rising in Miami-Dade and Monroe county schools, too, the Miami Herald reports. • At one Escambia County Catholic school, the principal and 50 students tested positive, one of the highest numbers in the state, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Some people aren’t getting the message. A second Orange County school didn’t get its quarantine notification to several students, who then showed up for school, WOFL reports.

How bad might things get? Expecting a post-Thanksgiving surge, the Palm Beach County school district is asking parents to sign permission slips for children to be swabbed in school if they develop symptoms during class, the Palm Beach Post reports. • Some parents are wary of in-school rapid testing, though, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • One new study suggests the risks of in-person learning is lower for elementary and middle school children, The 74 reports.

With these numbers, many parents want to keep e-learning in place for second semester. Several central Florida families are frustrated that the Department of Education hasn’t yet said whether it will allow the model to continue, Spectrum 13 reports. • Duval County parents say their choices should be respected in the ultimate decision, the Florida Times-Union reports. • Broward County parents are sending letters to the state calling for an extension of live remote classes, Tap Into Coral Springs reports.

Distance learning does not work well for everyone. Teachers and students are trying to make the best of it, despite the hurdles, USA Today reports. • Some schools in Florida and elsewhere are trying to bring students who struggle online back into classrooms, despite parent concerns, USA Today reports.

There are parents who don’t even want their kids on campus for academic testing. They chose to stay home for a reason, WPTV reports.

Then there are those who view Florida’s in-person approach as welcoming. A private school in Palm Beach County saw its enrollment spike, with most new students coming from other states with more restrictive coronavirus rules, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Seniors still want to walk across that stage. Volusia County high schools have begun preparing for socially distant graduation ceremonies, WKMG reports.

Seniors of Clearwater Central Catholic High School participated in a social distancing graduation for its 138 graduates in the Class of 2020.
Seniors of Clearwater Central Catholic High School participated in a social distancing graduation for its 138 graduates in the Class of 2020. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

And now for some non-virus news ...

Consolidation efforts have worried St. Petersburg residents that their USF campus will fall off. University leaders have crafted a plan to make the site a destination for specific fields of study.

School board members are supposed to live in the districts they represent. A newly elected Palm Beach County board member bought a new home outside her area just weeks before the election, raising questions about her qualification to serve, the Palm Beach Post reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel.

School districts' food service programs are supposed to be self-sufficient. Volusia County district officials are trying to figure out why their department is losing money, the West Volusia Beacon reports.

Get ready to switch schools. More than 600 Pasco County children would be reassigned as the district redraws attendance zones to accommodate a new school.

Who will lead? New College has kicked off its search for its next president, the Herald-Tribune reports.

It’s an upset. In heavily Republican Bradford County, a no-party teacher won the superintendent’s race. He says the key to his success will be surrounding himself with the right people, WUFT reports.

Let’s make a deal. The Bay County school district has traded to the county a school site it closed after Hurricane Michael, in order to avoid a $2 million debt it could’t afford, the Panama City News Herald reports.

From the police blotter ... Two people were arrested after a text message threatening violence at a Lee County charter school created pandemonium on campus, WINK reports.

A programming note: The Gradebook daily news roundup and newsletter will soon be taking a hiatus until after the Thanksgiving holiday. They will return. Thanks for reading.

Before you go ... When staying at home more often became a thing again because of COVID-19, I re-found the television series Monk through streaming. While watching, I couldn’t help but wonder how obsessive Adrian Monk would behave these days. Only this weekend did I find on YouTube that NBC/Peacock made a short episode about that very idea back in the spring. Here it is (starts around the 1:40 mark). Enjoy.

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