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Schools consider reopening plans as students sue over at-home testing

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

After Covid-19 shuttered schools, College Board officials contemplated canceling AP exams for 2020. The company yielded after an overwhelming majority of students surveyed said they still wanted to test. But when the time finally came, a small percentage of teens ran into problems turning in their answers that some experts said could have been predicted and avoided. What happened next? Read on for that and more Florida education news.

‘I hit the submit button and nothing happened.’ This year’s at-home online AP exams caused technology troubles for thousands of teens. They decided to sue.

What’s in a grade? Educators around Florida and the nation struggle to find the sweet spot for giving report card grades after a quarter of remote learning.

Covid-19 sure has made life weird. Just ask these five students.

It’s even made it strange to note that a mask-optional graduation will happen. Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa will hold an in-person ceremony this month despite the health risks. • Seniors in St. Johns County only wish they had traditional events, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Now, the pressure is on for schools to make plans for the fall. Pasco County school district leaders say they want to hear from stakeholders first.

This year's graduating class at Berkeley Preparatory School will participate in a May 31 commencement ceremony. They and guests will be told to stay six feet apart and they will pick up their diplomas from a table. Hand sanitizer will be available and masks will be recommended, but optional. [BRYNN ANDERSON | Associated Press]

The Florida Education Association asked the state to listen to experts. School reopening demands no less, the union’s leaders said in April. They got no response from the Department of Education, though. So the FEA has organized its own discussion panels to advance the conversation. The first session comes at 10 a.m. today. "Bringing students back onto our campuses will be successful only if parents and students know that we have put their interests first,” president Fed Ingram said. Click here for more details.

Will every student get a mask and gloves? Northeast Florida school districts are thinking about it, WJXT reports.

The CDC thinks they should. It also recommends keeping cafeterias closed and canceling many extracurriculars, Education Week reports.

‘We don’t believe there’s going to be one solution.’ South Florida superintendents say flexibility will be key to reopening, WTVJ reports.

Some families are still reeling from the switch to remote instruction. More than a third of Brevard County parents surveyed say it’s been tough to manage, Space Coast Daily reports.

Education funding remains a top priority in Tallahassee. But Senate Education Appropriations chairwoman Kelli Stargel says she has no idea where any of the increases proposed for the coming budget year stand right now, Florida Politics reports.

R.I.P. Former long-time Hillsborough County School Board member Jack Lamb has died.

The Sarasota County School Board is at odds again. This time, it’s over when to hold a sales tax referendum, the Herald-Tribune reports.

From the campaign trail. Three hopefuls have joined the race for a Pinellas County School Board seat where the incumbent has chosen not to run.

From the courts. A former Escambia County teacher who pleaded guilty to having sex with a student asks a judge for castration rather than jail time, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

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

Before you go ... As we mentioned before, the in-person senior celebrations have largely gone by the wayside. But not if everyone stays in their cars. So parades have become a thing. Several Pasco County high schools have taken to a local shopping mall parking lot to show their colors. At least it’s more joyous than a front-yard sign.

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

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