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Florida schools look past coronavirus to next ‘normal’

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Some Florida school districts have begun discussing how to get back to "normal" in the fall. In some places, that could include the end of mask mandates.
Some Florida school districts have begun discussing how to get back to "normal" in the fall. In some places, that could include the end of mask mandates. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Mar. 29
Updated Mar. 29

Coronavirus vaccines soon will be available in Florida for students 16 and older. Is that another sign that the state is closer to “normal” school operations? The number of school-related cases still is fluctuating, and though hospitalizations are down, the state’s growth in cases is occurring in younger people, as the NY Times reports. Still, the conversations about next steps have begun. Read on for the latest on that story and other Florida education news.

Summer break might not be so relaxing for many Florida children. Schools are preparing classes to help those who fell behind during pandemic learning, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Masks off? The Volusia County School Board will consider ending its mandatory mask policy, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Back to school. Monroe County schools fully reopen for in-person classes today, the Key West Citizen reports.

Tallahassee action

Plans to change the funding stream for Bright Futures scholarships continue to move in the Florida Senate. The Palm Beach County School Board issued a “call to action” urging parents to lobby lawmakers against the idea, the Palm Beach Post reports. More from WPTV.

The state Senate has proposed decreasing the highest salaries at Florida universities to $180,000. The move could save about $39 million, Florida Politics reports.

Budgets are out. The House and Senate stand about $500 million apart on education, with some policy differences included in their first drafts, WFSU reports.

Who’s on board? Gov. Ron DeSantis reappointed attorney Ben Gibson to the State Board of Education, Florida Politics reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Education and Employment Committee will consider six bills including one establishing “Victims of Communism Day” in schools when it meets at 1 p.m. • The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider legislation to mandate daily moments of silence in public schools when it meets a 3:30 p.m.

In the schools

Spring testing is almost here. Some Miami-Dade County parents are concerned about sending their children to campus for the assessments, the Miami Herald reports. • The Escambia County School Board asked the state to waive the consequences attached to the testing results, WEAR reports.

One day, the Hillsborough County school district talked of cutting hundreds of jobs. The next day, it broke ground for a new school, WTVT reports.

The Volusia County School Board refused to adopt a resolution marking LGBTQ health awareness week. Now LGBTQ students are urging the board to do better by them, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Palm Beach County schools used the Baker Act on hundreds of students each year. A report said the district has used the measure far beyond the law’s intent, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Some Bay County schools remain in disrepair 2-1/2 years after Hurricane Michael struck. At least one school official blames FEMA for its lack of response to the district’s needs, WMBB reports.

Leadership issues

Then there were six. Meet the semifinalists for Polk County superintendent, the Ledger reports.

A Manatee County School Board member is the last finalist to become acting county administrator. The County Commission might require Scott Hopes to leave the board to take the management job, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Legal matters

From the police blotter ... A Hillsborough County high school college success coach was arrested on allegations of having sex with a minor student. • A former Miami-Dade County teacher was arrested on accusations of molesting students, WSVN reports. • A Duval County woman was arrested on accusation of bringing a gun to a middle school campus, WTLV reports.

A Brevard County teacher was fired for medical marijuana use. Floridians made the drug legal, but many schools rely on federal drug-free workplace policies that don’t permit it, WOFL reports.

From the court docket ... A former central Florida teacher pleaded guilty to allegations of sending envelopes filled with white powder to four schools along with a note indicating it was “punishment,” the Miami Herald reports.

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Posted by Mario on Saturday, March 27, 2021