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Can social distancing and school coexist?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
During a Monday news conference, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees was escorted off the dais by Gov. Ron DeSantis' spokeswoman after suggesting Florida might need to keep social distancing for a year.
During a Monday news conference, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees was escorted off the dais by Gov. Ron DeSantis' spokeswoman after suggesting Florida might need to keep social distancing for a year. [ Florida Channel ]
Published Apr. 14, 2020

Reopening schools quickly seemed like a stretch for many Florida educators and parents alike. When the governor suggested getting back to campus in May, a lot of “we won’t be there” responses flooded social media. Now some from his own team are singing from a different hymnal. Read on for that and more Florida education news.

Will schools reopen in 2020? Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis held out hope it could possibly happen sooner rather than later. Now his surgeon general is saying, probably later, if at all.

Still, business has to get done. The Pasco County school employees union decided to hold its elections as planned.

Some money is on the way. Millions of dollars in federal aid will help Florida universities and their students.

Books are coming, too. The Dungy Family Foundation is providing free books and activity packets to children at some Hillsborough County Title I schools.

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.

Lauren Dungy and Henry "Shake" Washington distribute activity packets at elementary and middle schools in Hillsborough County where meals are being distributed. (Photo courtesy Tanya Cross).
Lauren Dungy and Henry "Shake" Washington distribute activity packets at elementary and middle schools in Hillsborough County where meals are being distributed. (Photo courtesy Tanya Cross). [ Photo courtesy Tanya Cross) ]

Stay home. Most colleges and universities in Polk County will continue distance learning through the summer, the Ledger reports.

Stay eligible. The University of South Florida works with its student-athletes to keep their grades up.

Sometimes having an individual education plan doesn’t matter. Students with special needs are struggling to adapt to life without school and the programs designed to support them, the Naples Daily News reports. It’s a tough adjustment in Orange County, too, WFTV reports.

Parents are helping parents. An Orange County school PTA is bringing free meals to families who can’t get to the schools to pick them up, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Their graduation ceremony is in jeopardy. So Polk County high school seniors are looking for alternatives to the traditional event, WUSF reports.

Preschools are closing. More than half have shut their doors, as business declined, the Herald-Tribune reports.

‘I know where there are a bunch of wipes.’ A group of Brevard County teachers share their classroom supply with area hospitals, Florida Today reports.

A little nonvirus-related news still happens. A Pasco County charter school once on the brink of being shut down finds a new lease on life. • Two finalists for Marion County superintendent keep answering questions as a decision nears, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. • Police are seeking two Bay County teens who did $100,000 of damage to a local middle school, WJHG reports.

Did you miss yesterday’s roundup? Here’s the link.

Before you go ... Admit it. After nearly a month of social distancing, you, too, are having trouble distinguishing one day from the next. That in mind, I offer you this Chicago classic, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

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. We want to hear your remote learning survival stories. Send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff