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Coronavirus concerns remain for Florida schools, as vaccines spread

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school at Boca Ciega High School, 924 58th St S, on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 in Gulfport.
Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school at Boca Ciega High School, 924 58th St S, on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 in Gulfport. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 7
Updated Apr. 7

We’re more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and schools continue to feel their way through some of the key issues they face because of it — masks, vaccines, instructional methods and remediation among them. Get the latest on these stories and more Florida education news in today’s roundup.

The days could be numbered for the Pasco County school district’s mask requirement. It depends on whether Gov. Ron DeSantis again extends his state of emergency order.

Will colleges and universities require coronavirus vaccinations? It’s too soon to tell, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Borrowed a school computer for at-home instruction? Palm Beach County parents might be on the hook to fix any damages to the machines, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Where’s the CARES funding? Sarasota County schools officials say their pandemic remediation efforts face uncertainty as they wait for the state to release millions in federal stimulus dollars, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Tallahassee action

Spending and earnings are up. That’s led state economic forecasters to add about $2 billion to their revenue projections as lawmakers prepare their annual budget, the USA Today Network reports.

A bill to mandate a daily moment of silence in public schools stalled in the Senate. Lawmakers stumbled over their rules, Florida Politics reports.

Efforts to revise school security laws failed a year ago. A similar bill is headed to the House floor this session, Florida Politics reports.

A bill to limit transgender student participation in school sports passed its final House stop. Sponsors said it is not discrimination, but opponents vehemently disagreed, WFTV reports. More from the News Service of Florida.

Wonder what’s going on with higher education legislation? The House dropped a major bill filled with priorities from both chambers during its Education Committee meeting, Florida Politics reports. Here’s a Twitter thread on the legislation from Politico Florida.

Today in Tallahassee ... The full Senate holds floor session beginning at 10 a.m. Legislation to promote intellectual diversity on college campuses is up for third and final reading. Here’s a story on the Republican-led push for that measure. A bill to revise Bright Futures scholarships and financial aid is on the chamber’s special order calendar. Many of the most controversial portions of the original bill were removed, but it remains hotly disputed, NBC reports. • The House Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee meets at 9:30 a.m. • The full House convenes at 2 p.m. Bills relating to virtual education funding and the higher education appropriations conforming language are on the special order calendar.

In the schools

These Pasco County parents want their charter school to have the stability of a five-year contract. The sponsoring school district had concerns about the school’s finances, so it offered one year.

An advisory committee offered four alternative names for Duval County’s Robert E. Lee High School. Protestors showed up outside the campus to support changing the name, WJXT reports.

Back to school. Their campus closed by a roof collapse, students at a Broward County middle school will complete the year at Broward College, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Martin County teachers are closer to a raise. The School Board ratified a contract agreement, leaving teachers to decide the fate of the deal, WPTV reports.

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

Before you go ... Is the explosion of school choice in Florida leading to the demise of public education? Step Up For Students, which manages most of the state’s tax credit scholarships, argues that’s hardly the case. (Step Up has been under fire lately from the League of Women Voters for its operations.)