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Teachers, students make best of coronavirus in Florida.

A roundup of education stories from around the state.
Thousands of students at Florida's public universities, including the University of South Florida, asked for a more lenient grading scale as they convert to distance learning. [Times (2018)]

Floridians are showing their resiliency and grit in the face of coronavirus. That includes college students advocating for their grades, and teachers trying to ensure they’re ready for remote instruction. Read on for that and more Florida education news. • To keep up on the latest stories from around Florida, visit the Tampa Bay Times Gradebook. Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Know someone who might want to sign up for the Gradebook newsletter? Share this link. If you have any questions, comments or story ideas, send an e-mail to - Jeff

Pass/fail, please. Thousands of students at Florida’s universities petitioned for a more lenient grading system, given the course changes they’ve had to adopt. Guess which three schools agreed.

Come together. That’s what teachers do in normal times. So should it come as any surprise they’re joining forces for distance learning, too?

Getting ready. Hernando County students are getting free meals from the schools while campuses are closed. Once classes resume, they’ll get access to computers, too. Duval County schools handed out 15,000 devices in three days, with more to come, the Florida Times-Union reports.

But there’s a virus going around. Broward County schools are scheduled to pass out laptops over the weekend, but some employees are saying they won’t show up, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

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.

Will Gov. DeSantis lock down Florida? He’s been pretty clear with his “no.” But why?

Even so, some don’t expect school life to return to normal soon. Count Broward superintendent Robert Runcie among them, Florida Politics reports.

If that’s the case ... The Brevard County School Board has granted its superintendent wide spending discretion as part of an emergency plan, Florida Today reports.

Florida is seeking a waiver from its federal testing requirements. [Associated Press]

Have your say. The Florida Department of Education has submitted a waiver request to its federal counterpart, seeking approval to call off required testing because of coronavirus closures. The sign-off is pretty much a given. But public comment is part of the process. If you have anything to say about Florida’s waiver request, you can email them to

Meeting needs. Students with disabilities and other special needs might require added assistance in remote learning. Treasure Coast school districts are making preparations, TC Palm reports. But parents will likely have to do more, WKMG reports.

Stifled by social distancing. High school student-athletes are feeling cooped up, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

They certainly can’t go to the dance. Orange County high schools have canceled all proms, WKMG reports.

He’s on board. Approved by the state, the University of Central Florida’s new president starts next month, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Educating Florida’s prisoners. There’s $4.8 million in the state budget to improve that system — for now, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Did you miss yesterday’s news? Here’s a link to that roundup, just in case.

Before you go ... One Pinellas County teacher has offered her classes a “mindful moment” of serenity in her room. Now that they’re meeting remotely, she’s put it on YouTube. Click and relax.