Vaccines for more Florida teachers are on their way

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Pharmacist Aji Kannamal administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at the Winn Dixie pharmacy in Apollo Beach. Classroom teachers age 50 and older soon could be added to the priority list for the injections.
Pharmacist Aji Kannamal administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at the Winn Dixie pharmacy in Apollo Beach. Classroom teachers age 50 and older soon could be added to the priority list for the injections. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Feb. 24, 2021|Updated Feb. 24, 2021

Citing their critical role in keeping schools running, Florida teachers have pressured the state government to get them coronavirus vaccines sooner rather than later. School officials have seconded that request. Slowly but surely, the state is adding more educators to the priority list. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the latest announcement at a news conference in Hialeah. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

DeSantis said classroom teachers age 50 years and older would be included in the next round. The doses will be available at four sites including one in Tampa. • The governor’s use of the phrase “classroom teachers” left some observers wondering whether vaccines will go the way of raises, leaving some educators out.

Millions more federal dollars are headed to Florida schools to help them cope with the coronavirus. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor called on DeSantis to speed its share to Hillsborough County schools, which are financially struggling, Florida Daily reports.

Volunteer opportunities are in short supply. The Broward County school district has waived its requirement that seniors have 40 hours of service in order to graduate this year, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Sports and other extras are the “best dropout prevention method we have.” The Citrus County School Board agreed to expand capacity to attend events in person, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

More districts are announcing their graduation plans. Orange County high schools will have in-person ceremonies with social distancing and masks, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

On teachers

As in most years, special education teachers are in short supply. The Hillsborough County school district has turned to people in its alternative certification program to fill the need.

Duval County schools have a workforce that’s less diverse than the student body. New research further shows that teacher turnover in the district disproportionately affects low-income students of color, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Two Brevard County teachers were fired for their civil rights activism in 1946. The Brevard School Board has posthumously reinstated them and stated its intent to teach about them in the schools, Florida Today reports.

In Tallahassee

Need financial aid to attend a Florida university? State Sen. Dennis Baxley wants to change the criteria, adding emphasis to degrees that are likely to lead to jobs after graduation.

The Florida House recently announced a program to provide free online books to elementary students. The state’s partner, Age of Learning, recently settled a federal complaint of illegal marketing and billing practices from 2015-18. Company officials said the practices have been changed.

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Subscribe to our free Gradebook newsletter

We’ll break down the local and state education developments you need to know every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Schools have rules to deal with bullying. State Sen. Lauren Book wants to make them stronger, Florida Politics reports.

Other school news

When violence strikes a school. School districts are adding silent alerts to law enforcement for when emergencies happen, the Herald-Tribune reports.

What’s in a name? The Bay County school district is lined up to name a high school’s new STEM center after the St. Joe Community Foundation, which donated about $300,000 in supplies to the endeavor, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Never mind. The Seminole County School Board voted to revoke its decision on its next superintendent, WKMG reports. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

From the police blotter ... An Army recruiter working out of a Sarasota County high school was arrested on accusations of having sex with an underage student, the North Port Sun reports.

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

Before you go ... The other day, Perseverance landed on Mars. Here’s a video of what it has been seeing on the surface. Cool.