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Florida schools are getting back to ‘normal’

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Tara Ruggiero goes through the alphabet for letter recognition while on a Zoom call with a student during a kindergarten screening in August 2020. Live remote instruction is one of the things that will largely disappear from Florida schools in fall 2021.
Tara Ruggiero goes through the alphabet for letter recognition while on a Zoom call with a student during a kindergarten screening in August 2020. Live remote instruction is one of the things that will largely disappear from Florida schools in fall 2021. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 7
Updated Jun. 7

As campuses roll into summer, Floridians are seeing many — but not all — of the protocols implemented during the pandemic fade away. The goal of state and local leaders is to transition to a more traditional approach, provided vaccinations and other interventions continue to reduce coronavirus cases. Read on for the latest on this story and more Florida education news.

All signs are pointed toward getting back to a more usual school year. The Hillsborough County school district announced it would end its mask mandate as summer schools ensues, and no longer offer eLearning in the fall. The Pinellas County School Board is set to vote on rescinding its mask policy on Tuesday.

Many expect classrooms to fill back up with students who didn’t show up last year. It might be tough to find teachers, bus drivers and others to serve the growing numbers, WJXT reports. • The Polk County school district yanked an ad for its teacher job fair, after several veteran educators complained the wording was disrespectful and insulting, the Ledger reports.

Some teachers are burned out. Districts in Florida and beyond are providing added services to help them through rough times and remain in the profession, Yahoo News reports.

Money’s nice, too. The Brevard County school district will pay all district employees a $1,000 bonus for their efforts during the pandemic, Florida Today reports. The amount is separate from a state bonus program.

But first, a summer of remediation and acceleration. Bay County schools are expecting their largest turnout in years, the Panama City News-Herald reports. • Just don’t call it summer school, which some educators say carries a negative vibe, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

School board politics

School board races in Florida are nonpartisan. Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Fox News he will use his political networks to work against Republican board members who oppose his education policies, Florida Politics reports.

Where does she live? An Alachua County School Board member faces questions over whether her home is within the district she was elected to represent, the Gainesville Sun reports.

A ‘passion for activism.’ Seventeen-year-old Raymond Adderly is running for a seat on the Broward County School Board, Florida Politics reports.

The Palm Beach County superintendent’s contract allows him to do private consulting work on the side. He’s filed the paperwork to start his business, amid strained relations with the board, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The Lee County School Board is seeking an interim superintendent. Five candidates will interview for the post this week, WTFX reports.

Tallahassee action

Concerned about what’s in those sex education classes? DeSantis signed into law a bill that would require school districts to provide more information to parents about the materials, so they can decide whether to let their kids participate, Florida Politics reports.

Need a new school? Lawmakers included $35 million for a new Jackson County high school in their budget, WMBB reports. They also put $67 million aside for a new Okeechobee County high school, the Lake Okeechobee News reports.

Florida wants its schools to be military-friendly. A new law will recognize schools as Purple Star Campuses if they meet certain criteria, Florida Politics reports.

School districts use impact fees to help cover costs associated with growth. A new law limits how much they can increase the fees, and how often, the News Service of Florida reports.

Other school news

Alachua County’s superintendent proposed a massive rezoning effort to cope with crowding concerns. She’s backing off and setting new priorities, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Some senior pranks just don’t work. Twenty-eight seniors at a Jackson County high school were barred from their graduation ceremony after allegedly vandalizing their school, WMBB reports.

Before you go ... This popped up on the screen and created instant cheer. Seems like a great way to start a Monday morning. Enjoy!