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Working to vaccinate Florida’s school workers

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 February. More school employees are being added to the eligibility list.
Pharmacist Aji Kannamal administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at the Winn Dixie pharmacy in February. More school employees are being added to the eligibility list. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Mar. 4
Updated Mar. 4

With more doses of COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Florida, the push has increased to get a needle into school employees’ arms. Not just teachers, but all the people who work to keep schools up and running. State officials have opened the door to those 50 and older, and the scheduling has already begun. Questions remain about how quickly President Joe Biden’s call to include school staffers of all ages will materialize. Read on for the latest on this story and other Florida education news.

More school employees are set to get their vaccines. The Pasco County school district secured 2,500 doses for workers 50 years and older. • Some pharmacies will provide inoculations to school staff under 50, too, the Miami Herald reports. But not all pharmacies in the federal program that President Biden called for have arrived at that point yet. • Still, they’re mostly happy to be on the list, Spectrum 13 reports. More from Education Week.

What about others who try to skip ahead in line? Teacher, law enforcement and firefighter officials are keeping their eye out for vaccine fraud, the Palm Beach Post reports.

More coronavirus concerns

No pep rallies. Online clubs. Interviews at a distance. Students find putting together a high school yearbook during a pandemic a creative challenge.

Will in-person graduations take place? That’s one of many year-end questions remaining for Sarasota County school district officials to answer, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Seminole County high schools will celebrate at UCF’s football stadium, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • High school officials along the Treasure Coast are working out the details to allow events to occur, TC Palm reports.

The masks stay. Flagler County School Board members rebuked one colleague’s false statements about the coronavirus, while retaining health protocols in schools through the end of the academic year, Flagler Live reports.

But will the testing requirements? Florida’s superintendents association sent a letter to the state education commissioner urging him to seek a federal waiver on assessments and accountability, the News Service of Florida reports.

Citrus County schools have seen an uptick in students held by the Baker Act. District officials want to know why, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Sarasota County schools have seen a dramatic decrease in Baker Act usage. District leaders said their new mental health services have helped students overcome issues arising from the pandemic, the Herald-Tribune reports.

School leadership

The new-look Hillsborough County School Board has endured some sharp divisions. Members met at a retreat in an effort to mend fences.

“Shame on all of you board members.” The Seminole County School Board has come under blistering criticism for its superintendent selection reversal, WKMG reports.

Let’s make a deal. Nassau County teachers and the school district finally reached a tentative pay deal, WTLV reports.

Tallahassee action

Conservative lawmakers continue to push creation of a parental bill of rights. The measure advanced in both chambers on Wednesday, the News Service of Florida reports.

Let them pray. A state House member has filed legislation that would allow schools to offer prayer on public address systems at state competitions, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The issue has been the subject of lawsuits for a few years.

Who qualifies for in-state tuition at Florida’s universities? A House committee blessed a bill that would add high-performing students whose grandparents live in the state, the News Service of Florida reports.

Race relations

A Tampa school resource officer was fired for using a racial slur while arresting a Black student. The police union will fight to reinstate the officer, who is Black.

A Duval County school planned segregated parent meetings to discuss campus culture. Parents complained, WJXT reports. More from the Florida Times-Union.

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

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