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Without vaccines for all, Florida teachers seek social distancing in schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Schools across Florida encourage social distancing as a way to keep the coronavirus at bay. Many educators want the rules more strictly enforced, as they wait for a vaccination.
Schools across Florida encourage social distancing as a way to keep the coronavirus at bay. Many educators want the rules more strictly enforced, as they wait for a vaccination. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jan. 21, 2021

Across the state, teachers and school district leaders continue to press the state to provide coronavirus vaccinations for employees who have daily interactions with students. So far, they’ve been more successful negotiating with local health departments for shots for their oldest workers. While they continue their campaign, many have started reiterating how difficult, if not impossible, it is to maintain six feet between everyone in a school. Ideally they’d like both. Read on for the latest on this and other Florida education news.

Getting vaccines remains a key focus. The Hillsborough County school district is the latest to announce plans to provide inoculations to employees age 65 years and older. • Miami-Dade County schools partnered with Jackson Health System to get vaccines to its oldest workers during a two-day administration, WSVN reports.

In the meantime, keep your distance. That’s the message from Broward County teachers, who said their district has too lax social distancing rules at schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The issue has gained importance as the district brings back many of its online learners, among whom officials say nearly a third have fared poorly at home, the Miami Herald reports.

Teachers have tried to protect their sick time if quarantined from work because of the coronavirus. The St. Johns County teachers union reached a deal with their district to have emergency leave instead, WJXT reports.

Communities still want as much detail about coronavirus cases as they can get. The Alachua County school district has updated its dashboard to provide more information, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Santa Rosa County parents are trying to understand their district’s quarantine policy, which many find confusing, WEAR reports.

Just give us a break. The Palm Beach County School Board delayed setting its first day of classes for August, after families complained that an Aug. 10 date would make summer vacation too short, the Sun-Sentinel reports. More from the Palm Beach Post.

Members of the Tarpon Springs Jazz Ensemble from Tarpon Springs High entertained the crowd in January 2020 as Pinellas County announced its Teacher of the Year. This year's ceremony will be held online.
Members of the Tarpon Springs Jazz Ensemble from Tarpon Springs High entertained the crowd in January 2020 as Pinellas County announced its Teacher of the Year. This year's ceremony will be held online. [ Pinellas Education Foundation ]

It’s time to celebrate teachers. The Pinellas and Hillsborough districts will reveal their teachers of the year during ceremonies tonight. You can watch both online.

But is it the ‘year of the teacher’ yet? Escambia County educators are trying to convince their school board to boost salaries for veterans, in addition to increasing the minimum pay rate, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Don’t lose track of the achievement gap. Escambia district officials are preparing to revamp their strategic plan to address the issue, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Sometimes, a school mascot needs to be changed. The Brevard County School Board decided to leave such decisions to school and district staff, rather than make it a board decision, Florida Today reports.

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Project approved. The Collier County school district has won permission to operate a home near Naples High as an expansion of its special education program, the Naples Daily News reports.

Then there were two. The Seminole County School Board has announced its finalists for the district’s superintendent post, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Under investigation ... A Broward County school principal could be suspended or demoted amid allegations of sexual harassment, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

From the police blotter ... An Orange County charter school leader was arrested on accusations of child abuse, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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

Before you go ... Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

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