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In-person, remote classes remain choices for Florida students

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis unveils his administration's emergency order for schools to follow during the spring 2021 semester, at a Nov. 30, 2020, news conference in Kissimmee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis unveils his administration's emergency order for schools to follow during the spring 2021 semester, at a Nov. 30, 2020, news conference in Kissimmee. [ The Florida Channel ]
Published Dec. 1, 2020

After a month without public appearances, Gov. Ron DeSantis reemerged Monday to talk about education. He used his time at a Kissimmee elementary school to reiterate his stance that closing schools during the coronavirus pandemic was a mistake he’d never repeat, to denigrate those who questioned his administration’s approach to reopening during the pandemic, and to proclaim the value of in-person learning over distance classes. Parents who disagree, well, that happens, DeSantis said with a shrug. He also made good on his administration’s promise to detail long-awaited guidelines for second semester schooling. Read on for that and other Florida education news.

Citing a need for continuity and stability, DeSantis announced that all first-semester education options would remain in place, with funding. Knowing the administration’s penchant for school choice, few observers expressed surprise with the order, which they called fair and balanced. More from the Associated Press.

As for that fall order, the case is all but closed. The 1st District Court of Appeal refused to rehear the Florida Education Association’s legal challenge of the state’s action, the News Service of Florida reports.

Schools around the nation are bringing their youngest students back to classrooms first. Florida has been among the most vocal reopening proponents, the NY Times reports. Experts increasingly are suggesting that schools might reopen with bars staying closed instead. The idea remains up for debate across the nation and world, the Miami Herald reports.

Don’t come to campus if you’re feeling sick, though. Orange County families got that message from the school district as classes resumed, WKMG reports.

Next fall’s return to school might be back to normal. At least the first day of classes will be for some Treasure Coast districts, TC Palm reports.

Graduations aren’t headed that way just yet. College of Central Florida will hold its fall commencement virtually to avoid becoming a super-spreader event, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. Rising coronavirus cases remain a point of concern for the state’s colleges and universities, WUFT reports.

Just before Thanksgiving break, the Pasco County school district declared that all sports and arts events would take place without an audience. Just after break, it rescinded that rule.

The University of Florida gave students a choice of returning to campus after break or finishing the semester from home. The response was evenly split, the Gainesville Sun reports.

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Some students have yet to show up for classes at all. Leon County school enrollment remains about 2,000 children below projections, WTXL reports.

See the pandemic through students’ eyes. The Orange County school district put out a call for photographic entries, and had no shortage of insights, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The University of South Florida has broken ground on a new honors college. It’s named after former president Judy Genshaft.

Looking for work? The Sarasota County school district is running low on substitute teachers, the Charlotte Sun reports.

A Jackson County school administrator no longer faces criminal charges over accusations she abused a student. A court ruled her action was covered by the state’s corporal punishment rules, WMBB reports.

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

Before you go ... Now that remote instruction is here for another semester, maybe it’s time to look at your desk setup. Check out the recommendations from one young teacher (on TikTok, of course).

@stevenstictac

working from home as a teacher ##RoomTour ##teachersoftiktok

♬ original sound - Nef Stevens