President Trump's Nomination; Fla. Schools Reopen; FGCU Fraternities Suspended

Aug 28, 2020

Thursday night, the Republican National Convention concluded with President Donald Trump accepting the GOP presidential nomination for a second term.

From his address on the South Lawn of the White House, he pledged there would be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year and a quick return to full employment. 

President Trump also promised to ban so-called sanctuary cities where local police may not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Florida passed a law banning sanctuary cities last year, despite no city in the state declaring itself a sanctuary.

Kelly Mallette, an RNC delegate and board member with Miami-Dade Republican Party joined us with her thoughts on the American First agenda, participating as a delegate during a pandemic, and why she thinks Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is a far-left candidate.

We were also joined by Sheila Griffin, the Secretary of the Pinellas County GOP, and former RNC delegate. Griffin discussed Pinellas County’s 9.8% unemployment rate, 10% rise in average wages, and President Trump’s sweep of Pinellas County in 2016. She also discussed what she think Trump’s greatest accomplishments as president are.

Florida Schools Reopen

This week, Florida teachers won in court even as more of them returned to the classroom. A judge ruled the state order to reopen brick and mortar schools by August 31 or lose funding is unconstitutional. 

The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit after the state ordered teachers back-to-class five-days a week, despite the COVID pandemic. The state says it will appeal the ruling.

We spoke with the president of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, Rob Kriete about his thoughts on the ruling, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proclamation that 2020 is the year of the teacher, and why he thinks dozens of teachers will retire or resign over the back-to-class order.

In Martin County, schools reopened August 11 with a choice between remote learning and classroom learning. More than 450 students and staff have been moved out of the district’s school buildings because of testing positive for the virus or being in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Martin County Education Association Executive Board Member Kelly Haddox spoke with us about why she chose not to teach this semester and her role in negotiating the reopening plan.

Students and teachers in Orange County, including Orlando, are finishing up their third week of school. The first two weeks were online. About 30% of students returned to their school buildings this week.

Orange County Public Schools 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year Rob Pachall told us about his experiences back in the classroom.

Florida Gulf Coast University Fraternities Suspended

Florida’s colleges and universities have begun their academic year. They’re warning students to follow restrictions to keep campuses safe from COVID-19 outbreaks.

Florida Gulf Coast University reopened two weeks ago. As of Tuesday, August 25, the university reported eight students and one employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

This week, the university sent a note to students after reports of two fraternities holding large off-campus parties. The university said students were not wearing face covering or social distancing. The fraternities were put on suspension and the university said the parties “put us at risk of having to close the campus.“

Susan Evans, Vice President and Chief of Staff at Florida Gulf Coast University, joined us to discuss monitoring student compliance of COVID-19 restrictions and possible campus closures.

Katherine Hobbs can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.