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Coronavirus issues still vex Florida schools as winter break nears

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Zachariah Lewis, 15, wears a fashionable masks with the Louis Vuitton logo, on the first day of school for Hillsborough County students, at Hillsborough High School on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020 in Tampa.
Zachariah Lewis, 15, wears a fashionable masks with the Louis Vuitton logo, on the first day of school for Hillsborough County students, at Hillsborough High School on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 17, 2020

Mask mandates have been a flash point for Florida schools this fall. Parents across the state have both demanded and protested their requirement. Some have even sued over the issue. One of those suits now has a judge’s ruling attached. Read on for that story and other Florida education news.

Some Hillsborough County parents contended their school’s mask rule was discriminatory. Judge Martha J. Cook disagreed.

Even teacher of the year recognitions feel different this season. Fist bumps were the order of the day for Pasco County’s teacher of the year, Chinese instructor Yan Li Gazda.

Now that the coronavirus vaccinations are becoming available, who will get them? The Florida Education Association has asked the state to prioritize teachers, WTXL reports. • The jury is still out as to whether the state will require them for students, WJXT reports.

Teachers say they’re exhausted after a semester of teaching combined in-person/online classes. Martin County school district officials are trying to reduce the load, WPEC reports. • A national nonprofit Support America’s Teachers made a stop in Lake County to celebrate educators and raise awareness for their needs, the Daily Commercial reports.

Many families continue to struggle financially during the pandemic. Miami-Dade County schools are distributing free meals for winter break for the first time, the Miami Herald reports.

A POW/MIA flag flies beneath an American flag at Madison Square Park in New York. Veterans plan to resume their tradition of flying the flag over Brevard County schools in 2021. [New York Times]
A POW/MIA flag flies beneath an American flag at Madison Square Park in New York. Veterans plan to resume their tradition of flying the flag over Brevard County schools in 2021. [New York Times]

Military veterans missed a year raising the POW/MIA flag over Brevard County schools because of COVID-19. They plan to resume the tradition in 2021, Florida Today reports.

Florida schools now must teach the history of the 1920 Ocoee massacre. The hard part could be finding materials to do it well, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The City of Fort Walton Beach is getting its first new school since 1969. Construction is ahead of schedule, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. (But don’t jinx it.)

Marion County’s 2020 teacher of the year made it a goal to create a state-of-the-art science lab in his school. He’s still trying a year later, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

See a need, fill a need. Four Manatee County high school students were recognized for developing an app for medical professionals, the Bradenton Herald reports.

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

Before you go ... 2020 has been filled with challenges and obstacles. The Pinellas County school district pulled together some video to celebrate some of the positives that still managed to shine through. Maybe others will follow suit. Two days until winter break!

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