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Another coronavirus-fueled school year for Florida

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Schools encouraged social distancing a year ago, then started to pull back some of the rules. Some are considering bringing the rules back for another year.
Schools encouraged social distancing a year ago, then started to pull back some of the rules. Some are considering bringing the rules back for another year. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jul. 29

Suddenly, it’s last summer all over again. Students, parents and school leaders had been preparing for a more “normal” school reopening in two weeks, until the coronavirus positivity rates started a new upward trend with Florida as a national hotspot. And opposing sides have been clearly drawn on issues such as masks, vaccines, distance learning and more. Read on for the latest and other Florida education news. (Yes, there’s still been time for other things to occur.)

Will any district defy the governor’s opposition to mask mandates? The Broward County School Board unanimously agreed to keep its mask rule in place for now, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Miami-Dade County school district will require masks on buses, and hasn’t made a final decision for classrooms, WPLG reports.

Most others are not taking that step. Among them ...

• The Polk County School Board moved to permanently rescind its mask mandate. Its lawyer advised that doesn’t mean it can’t reinstate the order, the Ledger reports.

• A Seminole County board member suggested establishing a mask requirement for elementary schools. A divided board rejected the idea, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

• The Bay County school district has taken the CDC’s advice on masks to this point. Not any longer, WMBB reports.

• Health department officials in Volusia County recommended bringing masks back for the school year. The School Board didn’t discuss the idea, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

• The Manatee County School Board discussed imposing a temporary mask requirement. It decided to stick with allowing families the choice, the Bradenton Herald reports.

• The issue is up for debate in Brevard County. It didn’t appear on today’s board agenda until after the latest CDC guidance emerged, Florida Today reports.

No masks? Some Orange County parents said they won’t send their kids to campus without a mandatory rule for all, Spectrum 13 reports.

Nova Southeastern University will require vaccinations for its employees. The school has gone back and forth on this plan, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

A family of Duval County school employees opposed vaccinations. They’re touting the need after the coronavirus took one family member and threatened others, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Other school news

A Palm Beach County high school principal faced removal after racial strife marred the campus. The School Board blocked her dismissal, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Housing for teachers comes at a premium for Monroe County’s Sugarloaf Key. School Board members are debating how they can help provide an affordable option, the Florida Keys Weekly reports.

Volusia County students no longer have a uniform to wear. The change came just in time for this year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Should parents be allowed to record their children’s special education planning meetings with teachers? The Sarasota County School Board couldn’t decide, the Herald-Tribune reports.

The Palm Beach County school district has a new superintendent. Michael Burke signed a contract with the board on Wednesday, WPTV reports.

Three Citrus County schools have electronic marquee signs that aren’t working. District officials are trying to decide whether to pay for repairs, which the schools had agreed to cover, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Bay High School in Panama City is getting a new fine arts center. It’s been in the works for six years, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... ZZ Top played the Florida State Fairgrounds in October 2019, the second-to-last stop on the band’s 50th anniversary tour. Great show. Now we mourn bassist Dusty Hill, who died Wednesday at his Houston home.

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