Phase 2 begins Friday, suggestions for reopening universities, K-12 planning, budget worries and more

Florida’s Phase 2: Phase 2 of the economic reopening of the state starts Friday in every county except Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday. That means bars, theme parks, theaters, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors and concert venues can reopen at 50 percent capacity but must practice social distancing. Those businesses that are now open at 50 percent capacity, such as restaurants, retail stores and gyms, can go to full capacity as long as they observe social distancing. Schools are not part of Phase 2. News Service of Florida. Associated Press. Gannett. Orlando Sentinel. Sun Sentinel. Palm Beach Post. Tampa Bay Times. Florida Politics.

Reopening universities: Masks, private dorm rooms that don’t include sophomores and juniors, staggered classes, more tutoring and hybrid classes, and shortening the fall semester to 12 weeks are all ideas or recommendations the United Faculty of Florida is making to state officials, universities and colleges on how to safely reopen in the fall. “We know they’ve (colleges and universities) sort of been left to create their own plans … we feel like there’s a lot of good building blocks in it,” said union president Karen Morian. Tallahassee Democrat. Florida Phoenix. WJXT. WTSP. Polk State College will offer most classes this fall only online. The school’s full three-phase plan will be released next week. Lakeland Ledger.

Reopening K-12 schools: Palm Beach County school officials said they’ll announce their plan for reopening schools on July 15. Superintendent Donald Fennoy said parents who don’t want their children in school will be given online learning options, and that CDC guidelines will be considered. Parents are being surveyed for their preferences. Palm Beach Post. Central Florida school districts are making plans for the fall. In Orange County, school officials have ordered 23,600 laptops and will buy nearly 11,000 iPads in case online learning has to continue in the fall. In Seminole, parents are being surveyed for their ideas on reopening safely. They and the Seminole, Lake and Osceola districts are working on plans that could include masks and staggered schedules, and are awaiting guidance from the state. Orlando Sentinel. Hillsborough and Manatee school officials are surveying parents of students for input on how to reopen schools safely. Gradebook. Bradenton Herald. Grandview Preparatory School’s plan to reopen the Boca Raton private school revolves around grouping students in cohorts of nine students or less and having teachers move from group to group. Parents will also be given the option of having their children attend classes, continue remote learning or blend the two. Boca Magazine.

Summer camps will be held: Palm Beach County School District officials have reversed their decision made last month and now say they will hold summer camps on the district’s elementary school campuses. Fourteen camps run by local nonprofits or cities will be the first to reopen, followed by district-operated and privately run camps. Palm Beach Post.

District budgets: Base wages for Pasco County teachers could rise to $45,175 next year — if the state doesn’t significantly alter its budget. That’s a big if, considering the drop in sales tax revenues reported the past two months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Until the state gives a clearer signal on what’s to come, district officials said they will continue preparing a budget based on the numbers they have now. Gradebook.

Education jobs lost: About 500,000 jobs in public education have been lost in just over a month as the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation. In March, there were 8 million people employed in K-12 public education. By mid-April, that had dropped by more than 6 percent, to 7.5 million. “More K–12 public education jobs were lost in April than in all of the great recession,” wrote Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank backed by unions. “And that’s before any austerity measures from lost state and local revenue have been put in place.” Chalkbeat.

Principal honored: JoAnne Glenn, principal of the Pasco eSchool, has been named one of three digital principals of the year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The award is given to principals who use new technology creatively to promote learning. Last November, Glenn was named the Pasco school district’s principal of the year. Tampa Bay Times.

Home-schooling surge? Home-schooling could surge if K-12 schools stay online in the fall, according to the National Home School Association. “A very large number of parents are now planning on not sending their kids back to school in the fall based on the calls we have been getting,” said J. Allen Weston, executive director of the organization. He said inquiries to the group have increased “at least tenfold.” Education Dive.

Superintendent’s contract: Diane Gullett will be paid $210,000 a year for three years as Marion County’s superintendent if the school board approves her proposed contract at its meeting next week. Gullett would start July 1, replacing Heidi Maier. Marion voters decided in 2018 to switch from an elected superintendent to an appointed one. Ocala Star-Banner.

School boundaries: Lake County school officials are offering 201 Clermont Middle School students a chance to be transferred a year ahead of schedule to get acclimated to their new schools. Clermont will be closed after the 2020-2021 school year, and its students will move to either Gray or East Ridge middle schools. About 85 percent of the parents who responded to a survey said they would be willing to transfer early. Daily Commercial.

Sales tax hike decision: Clay County School Board members are expected to decide today whether to ask voters in November for an extra half-cent in the sales tax for educational facilities, technology, transportation and security. The tax is projected to bring in almost $404 million over the next 30 years. District officials project they need $318 million for school repairs and $300 million for new schools to accommodate growth. Clay Today.

Hiring teachers: The Duval County School District is expecting to hire hundreds of teachers at virtual job fairs today and tomorrow. Special education, math and science teachers are the greatest needs. WJAX.

Education podcasts: Julie Young, the founding CEO of Florida Virtual School and now vice president of education outreach and student services at Arizona State University, talks with Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill about what we can learn from the sudden shift to digital learning, and how the role of teaching will change in the new environment. Step Up For Students hosts this blog. redefinED.

Open-government suit continues: A Tallahassee circuit judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission violated the state’s open-meeting law while investigating the 2018 shooting at the school. March for Our Lives Florida, Florida Student Power Network, Dream Defenders and plaintiffs sued after the commission held a meeting at a “remote” resort that couldn’t be reached with public transportation and charged $18 to $32 to park. News Service of Florida.

Immunizations offered: Back-to-school immunizations for kindergartners, 7th graders, out-of-state transfer students and college students are being offered by the Department of Health in Lee County. Appointments are required. WINK.

Student ejected for threat: A Maclay School student has been kicked out of the private school after posting an Instagram video threat to drive his car through protesters in Tallahassee. Tallahassee Democrat.

Opinions on schools: Young Women’s Preparatory Academy in Miami is one of the top-flight all-girls public schools in the United States that are proving the value of single-sex education. Jay Mathews, Washington Post. Schooling’s bottom-line purpose isn’t stuffing kids’ heads with secondhand information, but teaching them to think better than their elders. That’s done not by text, teacher talk or screen time but by creating experiences — puzzles, problems, projects — that deal with intellectually demanding matters, then backing away and letting kids struggle, learning to think by being required to think. Marion Brady, Orlando Sentinel.

Student enrichment: Twelve more Brevard County high school seniors have been named 2020 National Merit Scholars. Students are chosen as candidates based on their PSAT scores. Florida Today.

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roombodi June 4, 2020 - 2:41 pm

Thanks for the informative article. I think that beyond K-12, it’ll be super interesting to see how colleges address the phase 2 reopening issue and what similarities/differences there are. I’d assume that public and private schools will also follow vastly different guidelines. We’ll have to wait and see!

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