Can you believe it was just days ago that Florida’s governor and education commissioner showed up at a Riverview charter school, flexing their position that in-person schooling has to happen in the public schools in August, wherever possible? Their message was delivered in a live-streamed event. But it was directed primarily at a handful of Hillsborough County district officials, who tried to go a different direction after receiving input from medical experts. It took a few days, but those district officials heeded the message on Thursday. They backed down, like so many others across the state. Will that be the final word? A Leon County judge will offer some insights later today. Read on.
Losing $23 million a month was just too much to bear for Hillsborough leaders. Failing to reach a middle ground with the state, they retreated to a one-week online reopening, with in-person classes available by Aug. 31. As ordered. The same day, the County Commission lowered the age of its public mask mandate to 5 years old.
Will the courts step in? A Leon County judge will consider at 11 a.m. today whether to dismiss the case challenging the state’s reopening order.
Many parents aren’t feeling too good about what they see. A Florida Education Association-commissioned survey found 77 percent fearful of sending their children to schools, WTXL reports.
Still, they’re getting ready. Collier County schools have presented more details about how schools will operate in advance of students’ Aug. 31 return, the Naples Daily News reports. • The Orange County School Board has scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday, to discuss possible revisions to its plan, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
And lots of kids are returning. In Calhoun County, district leaders say students are following all the guidelines and classes are going well, WMBB reports. • There have been some challenges, but Wakulla County school officials say the children and teachers who showed up are glad to be back, WFSU reports. • Still, Hamilton County’s superintendent says he has received more first day complaints this year than in the past, Florida Phoenix reports.
Some college students feel ripped off. One is suing the University of South Florida, saying he wants his tuition and fees back after a spring semester without face-to-face classes. • Florida Southern College students have started a petition complaining about limited access to campus, the Ledger reports. • Meanwhile, Florida Gulf Coast University students have started moving back on campus, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.
Some teachers remain discontented. The discord grew for Flagler County teachers as they returned to work, Flagler Live reports. • Some educators say they’re writing wills as they prepare lesson plans, the Florida Times-Union reports.
Here’s an interesting question: Do online-only students need to get required immunizations? The state hasn’t issued a waiver for those, the Bradenton Herald reports.
Virus cases keep arising in the schools. Two Charlotte County campuses have reported positive test results among students or staff, the Charlotte Sun reports. • More than 200 Orange County children have contracted the virus in the past two weeks, WKMG reports. • Visiting a reopened Dixie County High, education commissioner Richard Corcoran said cases will happen, but “we got to recognize when you have a case in a child again it is extremely low risk, it is less than influenza,” WCJB reports. (That’s not exactly what all the experts say. Here’s the CDC’s comparison between the flu and COVID-19.)
What will the FHSAA do about the fall season? The answer comes today. You can watch the discussions here starting at 10 a.m. • Many athletic directors are torn over the idea of resuming practices soon, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The Miami-Dade County School Board seems to be moving on. It’s considering leaving the organization over its handling of coronavirus issues, TC Palm reports.
Maybe you heard Gov. DeSantis’ comparison of reopening schools to the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin-Laden’s compound. He later said he wasn’t talking about the level of danger, but rather the inspired ways Floridians are tackling the tough situation, the Palm Beach Post reports.
From the campaign trail ... An LGBTQ group has revoked its endorsement of an incumbent Miami-Dade County School Board member after learning of comments she made regarding transgender students, the Miami Herald reports. • Charter school groups have launched a campaign against incumbent Orange County School Board member Karen Castor Dentel, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
In the courts ... A judge finds the Palm Beach County principal who was fired over his comments questioning the Holocaust shouldn’t have been, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
The roof repairs still aren’t done in Broward County. An audit report showed they’ve been stalled by mismanagement, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Again, your social media can have consequences. The University of South Florida police department fired one of its officers over her Twitter account.
Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is here.
Before you go ... You’ve heard quite a bit from education commissioner Richard Corcoran about his views regarding school reopening. But maybe not the Fox News version. He got a 4-minute segment. Here it is.