Education

Some Florida Teachers Ponder Early Retirement As Schools Reopen

3 hours ago
Rick Bowmer / Associated Press file photo

Dave Galloway, an army veteran and sixth grade science teacher in Jackson County, is used to assessing risk in his life. 

A new report says the number of children who tested positive for the coronavirus in the United States increased by 40% in July.

University of South Florida President Steven Currall announced Friday that the school has moved to a modified Phase II of its return-to-campus plan.

As the Florida High School Athletic Association looks into pushing the start of fall sports to the end of November, Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging schools to play on.

DeSantis says just as he believes parents should have options when it comes to sending their kids back to the classroom, he thinks parents should choices when it comes to sending kids back to the athletic field.

TALLAHASSEE --- With some students set to return to classrooms on Monday, state officials and Florida’s largest teachers union are locked in a legal battle over an order requiring schools to reopen this month amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florida Education Association last month filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and other defendants, alleging that a July 6 order issued by Corcoran violates the state Constitution, which guarantees Floridians the right to “safe” and “secure” public education.

As schools across the country grapple with bringing kids back into the classroom, parents — and teachers — are worried about safety. We asked pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts for help evaluating school district plans.

What we learned: There's no such thing as zero risk, but certain practices can lower the risk of an outbreak at school and keep kids, teachers and families safer.

Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

An agreement between the Duval Teachers United (DTU) union, Duval County Public Schools, and five other employee representative groups would give teachers and other district employees a new COVID-19 related health benefit. It’s also expected to improve the district’s responsiveness to potential COVID-19 cases in schools, the groups and the district said in a joint release.

Duval School Board To Consider Renaming Jackson, Ribault High Schools, Ribault Middle

Aug 5, 2020
Bruce Lipsky / The Florida Times-Union

The Duval County School Board will launch the process to consider renaming three additional schools, the namesakes of which are tied to the marginalization of Native Americans.

Retailers reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic hope Floridians will indulge in a chance to save some money this weekend as students prepare for the new school year, whether it be in traditional classrooms or online.

The state will hold a sales-tax “holiday” from Friday through Sunday, allowing back-to-school shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes on clothes costing $60 or less and school supplies costing $15 or less.

As the start of the school year nears for many students, not all college professors are ready to head back to the classroom. The United Faculty of Florida, a union that represents college and university faculty and staff, is calling on the governor to move all classes online for the next semester.

Private Colleges Eye COVID-19 Liability, Testing Concerns

Aug 3, 2020

TALLAHASSEE --- As private colleges and universities set plans to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of a statewide association is raising concerns about liability protections and virus testing costs.

Whether institutions can be held liable for students, faculty and staff members getting sick on campus is a top concern for school leaders as they gear up to reopen campuses for the fall term.

Florida Coastal School Of Law Will Be Fully Virtual For Fall Semester

Aug 3, 2020
Florida Coastal School of Law
Jacksonville Daily Record

Florida Coastal School of Law said July 22 that all courses will be online when the fall semester begins Aug. 3.

Faculty Union Calls For Online Classes In Colleges, Universities

Jul 28, 2020

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s largest faculty union Monday called on Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials to order higher-education institutions to use remote learning through the fall. 

The push to keep university and college campuses closed during the fall semester, amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, adds another pressure point on the Republican governor, who is increasingly facing criticism for how he has reopened the state.

File photo of girl getting her vaccinations
Toby Talbot / Associated Press file photo

The Clay County Health Department has scheduled a three week Back-to-School Immunization Drive that will start Monday.

Photo of students in class wearing masks
LM Otero / Associated Press

Operation Homefront, in partnership with CSX, will distribute hundreds of backpacks and school supplies to the children of military families in the Jacksonville area on Tuesday, July 28, as part of Operation Homefront’s annual Back-to-School Brigade.

The statewide high school athletic association decided Thursday to postpone the start of the fall sports by one month, until Aug. 24, after initially voting to proceed as normal despite the recommendations of its own medical advisory board which said it was unsafe due to rising cases of coronavirus across Florida.

The move came after several greater Tampa Bay counties decided on their own to postpone football practice and other sports for a few weeks.

Duval School Board Approves Delayed Start And Hybrid Learning Options

Jul 24, 2020
LINDSEY KILBRIDE / WJCT NEWS

The Duval County School Board on Thursday approved Superintendent Diana Greene’s back-to-school plan, which includes a delayed start of the school year by 10 days as well as hybrid learning options.

As school districts in Florida gear up to open brick and mortar campuses in the fall, Governor Ron DeSantis says he’s supporting choice for parents and students.

The state Department of Education’s emergency order calls for in-person instruction to be made available for the coming school year, unless local or state health departments say otherwise. But it also allows districts to get funding for students who opt for distance learning.

Photo of woman cleaning a table in a classroom
JON SUPER / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The largest teachers' union in Florida filed a lawsuit Monday that seeks to block requiring schools to reopen buildings for in-person classes in August.

DeSantis Says Reopening Schools A 'Collaborative Effort'

Jul 16, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters on Wednesday the Florida Department of Education should not dictate local school-district decisions, even though the department issued an emergency order that says schools must reopen in August unless health officials say otherwise.

Update July 22: See here for the latest story on school reopening plans in the greater Tampa Bay region.

Four school districts in the greater Tampa Bay region are pushing to move their start dates back amid the coronavirus pandemic and concern from teachers.

Picture of school custodian in mask and protective cover
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press file photo

The head of a union that represents thousands of school employees says that Florida’s push to reopen schools in August is rushed and “putting lives in danger.”

File photo of a classroom.
JON SUPER / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) announced Tuesday a revised back-to-school plan that takes into account what the district is calling the “fluid conditions” caused by COVID-19 as well as new state requirements.

St. Johns County School Board Asks District To Push Back School Start Date 2 Weeks

Jul 14, 2020
St. Johns County School District Superintendent Tim Forson talks about coronavirus plans during a school board meeting.
News4Jax

WJCT News partner News4Jax reports that St. Johns County School Board members on Tuesday asked the school district to explore pushing back the school start date to give the district more time to implement COVID-19 safety plans and allow parents to make decisions.

Florida Leaders Weigh In On Back To School Order

Jul 13, 2020

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano says local school districts must follow an order from the state Department of Education to offer in-person classes five days a week starting in August. Some school districts are pushing back on the order. During a press briefing with the governor in Bradenton a reporter said Manatee County is one example. The district claims it’s up to the school board to decide when kids should be back in the classroom. Galvano disagrees. He says the order from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran must be followed.

Associated Press

There’s a battle brewing over what back-to-school in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic might look like in Florida.

Baker131313 / Wikimedia Commons

A student health survey released by Duval County Public Schools finds an alarming rise in the number of students who have attempted or considered suicide.

On Monday, Florida's Education Commissioner issued an emergency order for brick and mortar schools to reopen for the fall, with the full array of services schools provide.

It said "school openings must be consistent with safety precautions as defined by the Florida Department of Health, local health officials and supportive of Floridians, young and adult, with underlying conditions that make them medically vulnerable."

Florida’s education commissioner issued a mandate Monday, requiring schools to open five days a week in the Fall. Statewide teachers’ union, the Florida Education Association, is questioning the move.

FAMU To Receive $50,000 To Buy Laptops For Students

Jul 1, 2020

Florida A & M University is using a $50,000 grant to buy more than 60 laptops for students who need one. The college was one of five historically black universities to be granted money from Vanguard, an investment advising firm.

FAMU's Shawnte Friday-Stroud says after switching to remote learning amid the pandemic, students didn't have access to computer labs, which led the university to realize that many students needed personal laptops to support the software teachers use.

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