1. News
  2. /
  3. The Education Gradebook

Will other states follow Florida’s lead on reopening schools?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Florida schools have opened to students since the fall. Other states are considering research from Florida and elsewhere as they decide whether to follow suit.
Florida schools have opened to students since the fall. Other states are considering research from Florida and elsewhere as they decide whether to follow suit. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Feb. 18

To great fanfare with equal levels of consternation, Florida reopened its classrooms in the fall for any students who wanted or needed to attend. The numbers returning for face-to-face instruction have grown since. President Biden has said he wants more schools across the nation to open, as well, and the CDC issued new guidelines to follow for a safe launch. The question remains: Will Florida’s example encourage or worry officials making decisions in other states? Read on for the latest on that and other Florida education news.

Do schools spread the coronavirus? The Wall Street Journal reviews the latest research on that topic, including details from Florida.

Most Florida school districts continued offering COVID leave to employees after a federal mandate ended. The Martin County district waited more than a month before reinstating the benefit, TC Palm reports.

Volusia County schools have checked students’ temperatures as a coronavirus precaution. They’re stopping that practice, WJXT reports.

Some schools switch back to all-virtual classes as virus outbreaks occur. One of the latest examples came in Duval County, the Florida Times-Union reports. More from Florida Phoenix.

Race relations

Florida provides scholarships to students who are descendants of families affected by the Rosewood massacre. A state senator wants to expand the program to include descendants of the Ocoee massacre, the News Service of Florida reports.

The Alachua County school district received recognition for its teaching of African-American history. Only 10 Florida districts earned achieved exemplary status, the Gainesville Sun reports.

The Lee County school district is investigating a video of a teacher telling students that slaves where not abused. The teacher has been suspended, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Recruiting a diverse faculty ties into improving student achievement. The Palm Beach County school district is making progress recruiting and retaining teachers of color, Education Week reports.

In Tallahassee

No surprises here. A bill to create education savings accounts in Florida passed its second Senate committee along partisan lines, Florida Politics reports.

The ESA bill is getting a boost from outside sources. Two organizations launched a six-figure ad campaign to tout the measure, Florida Politics reports.

The reaction continues. Democratic lawmakers have refiled legislation to prevent private schools that discriminate based on sexual orientation or disability from participating in the state voucher program, WTSP reports.

Some say students don’t have enough time for daily reflection. They seek to mandate a daily moment of silence in Florida public schools, the News Service of Florida reports.

On today’s agenda ... The House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee will review some local bills, and have a discussion about the current year budget, at 10 a.m.

Other school news

St. Lucie County has experienced a population boom. A new charter high school aims to help deal with the growth, WFLX reports.

Substitutes are hard to find. The Escambia County school district has increased pay for substitutes at five schools with the lowest fill rates, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

From the police blotter ... A Duval County private school teacher was arrested on allegations of sexual abuse against a student, the Florida Times-Union reports.

From the court docket ... A group has sued the University of Central Florida, contending it suppresses freedom of speech on campus — especially conservative views, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Missed a story? Check out yesterday’s roundup for more.

Before you go ... What does it mean to be Black in America? Students from Wellington High School share their thoughts.