People interested in Florida’s back to school status got their hopes up Tuesday afternoon when the Department of Education put out a statement that it would have an “important announcement” at 4 p.m. The reveal was positive — Okeechobee County teacher Krista Stanley was celebrated as 2021 Teacher of the Year. Here’s a story from her hometown paper. But after the buildup, many observers looking to Tallahassee for more direction on reopening schools walked away disappointed, and misled. As one south Florida school board member wrote on Twitter, “Congrats to Ms. Stanley but, really, why not let everyone know that this was going to be the TOY announcement? By hiding the purpose of the call, administrators across the state took time away from the serious business of reopening schools.” At least the department didn’t give them bad news. Read on for more of the day’s education stories.
The pressure continued to mount on school boards to reject the state’s demand for in-person classes. The Pasco County board wasn’t biting. • Sarasota County health officials advised their School Board to move ahead with reopening in August, the Herald-Tribune reports.
The battle in court, meanwhile, promised to intensify. The Florida Education Association filed a motion for an emergency injunction to block the bricks and mortar option, WKMG reports.
Gov. DeSantis’ latest take on reopening: ‘Sweden was right,’ Florida Politics reports.
What do students think about going back? Like their parents, they span the range of opinions. • University students have their own sets of worries, Florida Phoenix reports.
How about teachers? Many are fearful that schools can’t adequately handle the health threat of COVID-19. So why are some taking the plunge? Their reasons vary from seeing their jobs as essential in society, to needing a paycheck. • In Duval County, they wrangled an agreement from the district to cover any coronavirus-related medical expenses, the Florida Times-Union reports. • Lake County will offer school employees free quick testing before they return to campus, the Daily Commercial reports.
So should they be concerned? Hillsborough County schools reported an additional 31 cases of positive test results among students and staff. • Experts advise parents to talk honestly with children about the coronavirus. • They also offer recommendations on how to try to stay healthy while at school. • In all, much about the return to campuses remains guesswork. Here’s more on that from TC Palm.
Some students need in-person education more than others. The Broward County school district is considering a face-to-face model for some children with disabilities. It’s controversial, WLRN reports.
And now for a word about mask designs ... ‘If it isn’t allowed on a shirt, it isn’t allowed on a mask,’ Pinellas school officials remind.
The wheels on the bus go round and round. Much else about a school bus ride will be different this year because of the coronavirus, the Naples Daily News reports.
‘We need every parent to declare.’ Santa Rosa County parents have until Friday to pick a back to school option, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • Many Bradford County parents said they didn’t even know they had three choices as their district’s deadline passed, WJXT reports.
Time to go. Veteran Alachua County educator and four-term board member Eileen Roy is ready to retire, the Gainesville Sun reports.
Time to step up. The University of South Florida announces new actions to address systemic racism on campus. • The Duval County school district moves to rename three schools with names tied to the marginalization of Native Americans, the Florida Times-Union reports.
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