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As Florida schools debate masks, they don’t mean for Halloween

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Makeup artist Andres Taborda holds up the custom mask for Alacard at Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream. With Halloween upon us, some schools are making clear that this kind of mask is not welcome on campus.
Makeup artist Andres Taborda holds up the custom mask for Alacard at Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream. With Halloween upon us, some schools are making clear that this kind of mask is not welcome on campus. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Oct. 29, 2021

The discussion over when students should and should not wear masks in Florida schools continues to loom large in many communities. One thing is certain, though: Costumes that obscure a student’s entire face are not part of the equation. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

When will Miami-Dade County schools relax their mask rules? The district has specific data it’s wanting to see before that decision comes, the Miami Herald reports.

Manatee County schools will stop requiring an opt-out form for masks. The district’s rule expires Friday, making masks fully voluntary, the Bradenton Herald reports.

The Orange County school district also is ending its strict mask rule. Officials said the policy will expire over the weekend, based on a reduction of COVID-19 cases, WESH reports.

Mask-optional rules create problems for some students with disabilities. They say such policies have the effect of banning them from campus, the Orlando Sentinel reports. (Subscription required)

The federal government awarded grants to two school districts that were sanctioned for their mask policies. The state kept the money, so the feds went to court seeking to stop the state from interfering, the Associated Press reports.

No, not that kind of mask. Polk County schools reminded students that Halloween costumes, masks and props are not welcome at this weekend’s athletic events, the Ledger reports.

Hot topics

Enrollment declines: Palm Beach County’s enrollment is more than 6,000 below its pre-pandemic levels, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Testing: Teachers have high hopes as Florida moves to progress monitoring. They’d like to see some of the more punitive uses of the results disappear, WUFT reports.

Job vacancies: The Volusia County school district approved a $3.50 per hour pay raise for substitute teachers, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Seminole County schools are preparing for a possible “sick out” of bus drivers protesting for higher wages, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Race relations: Polk County civic activists are seeking solutions to a disproportionate level of suspensions of Black students in the school district, Bay News 9 reports. • The Nassau County school district said it has no authority to discipline two white students who made a racist video that caused a campus disruption, because it was made off campus, WJCT reports.

LGBTQ issues: A St. Johns County high school removed a pride flag from a teacher’s classroom after receiving complaints, WJXT reports. The teacher is the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club sponsor.

Controversial books: A member of the public was removed from an Orange County School Board meeting after reading explicit passages from a book he said did not belong in school libraries, Fox News reports.

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Controversial field trips: A Broward County School Board member has come under fire for participating in an elementary school field trip to a business associated with the LGBTQ community, WSVN reports. The trip was designed to teach children about the restaurant business. Some critics have complained that children should not be going to known “gay bars,” the NY Post reports. More from the Miami Herald.

Controversial volunteer: An Orange County school volunteer is threatening to sue the district after being banned from campus because of her participation on a legal adult-only internet site, WKMG reports.

From the police blotter ... A Duval County school bus driver was arrested on a DUI charge after crashing her bus, with no students on it, the Florida Times-Union reports.

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

Before you go ... Just because it’s cute.

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