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Schooling during coronavirus causes angst for students, parents and teachers

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

The reopening of schools for classes during the coronavirus pandemic has yielded some spinoff effects, some anticipated and others less so. They include the expected money concerns, but also kids who get hungry because of spaced out lunch times. Having trouble keeping up with the latest? Let us help.

Why is my child’s school lunch period so late (or early)? COVID-19 means social distancing, which means using more space for fewer people. In cafeterias, that means someone has to wait to eat. During the pandemic, school meals reached fewer students in need than when schools are fully open, NPR reports.

Students = money. When they’re not showing up by the thousands, that could lead to big cuts for Hillsborough County schools. • The Sarasota County School Board approved its budget despite looming uncertainties, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Contact tracing means casting a wide net. Polk County superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said the goal is to aggressively keep the virus from spreading, the Ledger reports. • In Pinellas schools, though, the quarantining is becoming more “surgical.” • Meanwhile, cases continued to slowly rise in districts including Duval, Lee and Manatee.

Teaching in-person and online students at the same time is exasperating teachers. Pinellas County educators called for dumping the concept. District officials suggested they keep trying to make it work. • St. Johns County teachers say the approach is leaving them overworked and frustrated, WJXT reports. • Concerns about working during COVID-19 prompted 41 St. Johns teachers and district employees to take unpaid leaves of absence for the year, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Teachers congregate in a hall inside Pinellas School Board headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020before speaking to the board in protest of the district's requirement that teachers teach in-person and online students at the same time.
Teachers congregate in a hall inside Pinellas School Board headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020before speaking to the board in protest of the district's requirement that teachers teach in-person and online students at the same time. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Broward County schools could reopen sooner than expected. It all depends on continued improvement of coronavirus trends, WTVJ reports. Most students will get to return five days a week in October, the Sun-Sentinel reports. When they get back, they’ll find a very different experience than in past years, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Palm Beach students are headed back in days. The local teachers union says that’s too soon, and the district isn’t ready, the Sun-Sentinel reports. More from WPTV.

Volusia County School Board members sounded enthusiastic about their district’s return to classes. Many in the public didn’t share the positivity, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Chromebook not working? The Lake County school district has announced a no questions asked free repair week for district-issued machines, the Daily Commercial reports.

They’re on a road to nowhere. Hillsborough County has plenty of potential sites for new schools to handle crowding in its southern communities. Getting to them is the problem.

Tallahassee has Florida’s poorest ZIP code. A Leon County School Board member wants to use education to end the cycle of poverty, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Let’s make a deal. Brevard County teacher contract negotiations turn to pay raises and parental leave, Florida Today reports.

On the campaign trail ... Jill Biden made another virtual visit to a Florida school, this time in Duval County, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Teachers are doing all sorts of things to make their students' online experience welcoming. One class I heard about on social media did it with the theme song from that fun 1970′s school show Welcome Back, Kotter. Kinda makes you nostalgic, doesn’t it?

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