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Some Florida teachers soon will get coronavirus vaccination

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
OnSite Safe Nurse Joan Diehl prepares COVID-19 vaccinations at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds, one of the vaccination distrubition sites in Hillsborough County, in Plant City on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
OnSite Safe Nurse Joan Diehl prepares COVID-19 vaccinations at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds, one of the vaccination distrubition sites in Hillsborough County, in Plant City on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jan. 19

Gov. Ron DeSantis has insisted that Florida’s health care providers and residents over 65 be first in line for the COVID-19 inoculations. School district and union leaders have pressed hard to prioritize educators and other school employees who work directly with children. There’s a crossover between the two, and some districts in conjunction with local health departments have made plans to start serving older teachers and school nurses, as early as this week. Read on for that and other Florida education news.

Schools aim to support wellness through the coronavirus pandemic. The Palm Beach County district opened its first on-site medical clinic for employees, WPTV reports. • Central Florida schools will begin providing vaccinations to employees over 65 years old this week, WOFL reports. More from WKMG. • Polk County schools are negotiating to get vaccines to their older workers, too, the Ledger reports.

Reports of positive cases in schools have leveled off. They’re still high in Tampa Bay area schools, but not continuing the massive spike that occurred over winter break. • Still, a January federal report recommended all Florida K-12 teachers and older students be tested weekly — something that’s not happening.

The coronavirus caught schools off guard. The principal of one high-poverty school in Orlando has been winging it, and finding positive results, Wired reports.

Parents of several online students have been getting letters saying their children might be better off back in school. Some are not receiving the message well, WFLA reports.

Let the music play. Central Florida schools have found ways to let their drama and music performances go on despite coronavirus concerns, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Now more than ever, schools need to be clean. Treasure Coast school districts are hiring additional custodians to help get the work done, TC Palm reports.

Some parents continue to argue that school mask mandates represent ‘government overreach.’ Former school board members from Brevard and Indian River counties have joined a current Sarasota board member to form a “pro-liberty” group to fight the requirements, Florida Today reports. (It’s a subscribers only story, but worth noting.)

Most of us don’t make it into the comics. Daytona Beach News-Journal education reporter Cassidy Alexander did. (She actually got into classrooms, too. Quite the coup.)

Teacher pay raises don’t come easily. The Bay County school district is considering whether to ask voters to approve a property tax increase to cover the cost, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Who’s next? Nineteen candidates have applied so far to become Polk County’s new school superintendent, the Ledger reports. • The Sarasota County school board’s attorney is retiring after 30 years, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Leaner, but wiser. Palm Beach County superintendent Donald Fennoy survived a series of crises and kept his job. Now he’s looking to reshape the district’s future, the Palm Beach Post reports.

‘You’re not alone.’ Some Lake County teens received training in how to help classmates in crisis, the Daily Commercial reports.

The Sarasota County school district has experienced culture wars in the past year. Superintendent Brennan Asplen has convened an advisory committee to help work through the divisive issues, the Herald-Tribune reports.

‘I’m preparing my students to become global citizens.’ Three Duval County teachers discuss how they talked about the D.C. siege of the Capitol with their students, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Marion County’s shrinking Evergreen Elementary faces closure if its academic performance doesn’t improve. District officials are exploring options for the campus, including a primary academy, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Revenue is running ahead of projections for St. Johns County’s school sales tax. District officials said project costs are rising, so they’re considering when to ask voters to renew, the St. Augustine Record reports.

The Lee County school district has asked for input on four possible rezoning maps. The public has been slow to respond, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

From the police blotter ... A Marion County teacher aide was arrested on accusations of inappropriately touching a student, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Before you go ... High school yearbook staffs are wrapping up their work. Don’t you love going through them to see how they’ve captured the year, plus maybe find a nugget of a really funny something in there? Here’s one site’s collection of some entertaining yearbook quotes that made it through the editing process. Hope you enjoy.

Students flip through their Plant City High School yearbook. (Times | 2012)
Students flip through their Plant City High School yearbook. (Times | 2012) [ Times (2012) ]