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Coronavirus-inspired distance learning hits Florida schools. Plus free meals, job security and other education news.

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Students will begin turning to their computers for their lessons and communications with teachers.
Students will begin turning to their computers for their lessons and communications with teachers.

The spread of COVID-19 continues to impact Florida education in ways large and small. As spring break ends, we should begin to see exactly how schooling works (and maybe doesn’t) in this new world order. Read on for that and more Florida education news. • Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Don’t forget about the Gradebook newsletter. Share this link to sign up. If you have any questions, comments or story ideas, send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff

And now, the news ...

Who’d have thought Florida virtual school would mean every school? But they’re not all ready. Hillsborough County, which planned to launch today, decided to spend another week figuring it out. One of the key questions remains how to reach and serve everyone, including children with less than perfect home lives, the Herald-Tribune reports. And how to avoid long lines for laptops like the ones in Broward County, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Then there’s the issue of keeping kids fed. Schools are providing free meals for pickup starting this week. But the effort isn’t necessarily reaching everyone in need.

School workers are worried about their jobs, too. In Pasco and Pinellas counties, they’re safe for now, officials say.

Put it in writing. Brevard County teachers union leaders balk at having members begin distance instruction without contract terms in place, Florida Today reports. • The Orange County school district and support employees union, meanwhile, strike a deal to keep employees paid even if they can’t report to work during the pandemic, WFTV reports.

What could go wrong? High schoolers will be taking their Advanced Placement exams at home.

Students won't be taking their Advanced Placement exams like this one in crowded testing centers this spring.

Just keep reading. Hillsborough County School Board member Stacy Hahn won’t let coronavirus get in the way of her drive to improve literacy.

Gotta keep in shape, too. The virus isn’t stopping some high school athletes from hitting the field, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Show them the face masks. Polk County schools have them. Hospitals need them. So they’re sharing, WTSP reports.

Please let us celebrate. Central Florida seniors don’t want coronavirus to ruin their graduation plans, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

‘Thinking of you.’ One Collier County fifth grade teacher didn’t wait for distance learning to reach out to her students. She used chalk instead, the Naples Daily News reports. • Teachers from a Hillsborough County elementary school caravan through their students’ neighborhood in a show of support, WTSP reports.

Campuses are closed. State tests canceled. Will this just be the lost school year? Politico reports.

Resources: Keep up with the latest Florida Department of Education information on the virus response via its website.

Want more coronavirus news? The Tampa Bay Times is providing all its latest stories about the pandemic online free of charge as a public service. You always could subscribe, too.

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, listens Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, during a Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee meeting at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) [PHIL SEARS | AP]

And in other news ...

He’s outta there. State Sen. Bill Montford, who also heads the state superintendents association, ends his legislative career, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Take a break. As many Florida school districts return from time off, Miami-Dade County students prepare for their spring vacation, the Miami Herald reports.

Too many people. Some St. Johns County families are getting tired of continued school crowding, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Who’s in charge? The University of Missouri’s chancellor will become the next president of the University of Central Florida, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Looking for something to do? How about Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems?

To our Readers,
We are temporarily suspending comments on tampabay.com. The staff members tasked with managing this feature are devoted to our ongoing coronavirus pandemic coverage. We apologize for this inconvenience. If you want to submit a tip, please go to this page. You may also submit a letter to the editor.

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