Duval may seek a waiver, phased-in restart in Palm Beach, state order’s ambiguity, budgets and more

Reopening schools: Duval County Superintendent Diana Greene said Monday that the school reopening plan has undergone multiple revisions as coronavirus conditions have changed, and she suggested that the district will be asking the state for a waiver to the order that schools be open five days a week for instruction. The school board gets the plan today at a workshop meeting. Florida Times-Union. WJXT. The Palm Beach County School District’s reopening plans calls for remote learning only until the coronavirus situation improves. Then the district plans to bring back youngest students first, and phase in everyone else over the following month. The school board reviews the plan Wednesday. Palm Beach Post. WPTV. Ambiguity in the state school reopening order could mean there is flexibility for the districts in when and how to resume. Tampa Bay Times. Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed for schools to fully reopen, but on Monday he said that he understands that some parents may disagree with him and they have the right to not send their children back into classrooms. Sun Sentinel. Leon County students will have three classes a day of 105 minutes each if they return to in-person instruction, in order to limit transitions and contacts between teachers and students. Tallahassee Democrat. WTXL. WCTV. Brevard County School Board members said they are ready to sign off on the district’s reopening plan, even as some of them have unanswered questions. Florida Today. Walton County students will have three learning options when schools reopen. WMBB. Jackson County’s school reopening plan is approved by the school board. WMBB. Pinellas and Hillsborough school board members will discuss their districts’ reopening plans this week. Gradebook. Manatee County teachers said they are “scared to death” as the school board considers its reopening plan today. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The latest on school reopening plans in central and northeast Florida districts. WOFL. WJAX. St. Lucie County Superintendent Wayne Gent talks about the proposal to reopen schools. TCPalm. Santa Rosa County parents are petitioning the school district for a learning option that allows their children to stay connected to their classes, teachers and classmates through a teleconferencing program. Navarre Press. St. Johns County school officials have spent $1.7 million to prepare for reopening during the pandemic. WTLV. What happens this fall when someone inside a school tests positive for the coronavirus? WOFL. Some of the largest school districts in the country have decided that they won’t reopen fully, and many will continue with remote learning only. Politico. Chalkbeat.

More on the coronavirus: With coronavirus cases surging, the Leon County School District has canceled all athletic practices and training for the rest of the summer, and Pinellas and Duval school districts have postponed their scheduled moves into Phase 3 of its summer conditioning guidelines for sports. Gyms, locker rooms and weight rooms remain closed. Tallahassee Democrat. WTSP. WJXT. The Florida High School Athletic Association meets July 20 to discuss whether to extend the July 27 scheduled opening of the fall sports seasons. Florida Times-Union. WCTV. Students in Orange, Marion and Lee counties have begun in-person summer learning programs. WKMG. Ocala Star-Banner. WZVN. A Washington County principal used a cart, a sanitizing solution, an air compressor and a spray-paint gun to create a coronavirus killing machine for Vernon High School. WMBB. The coronavirus has created transportation problems for school districts. How will districts solve them? Education Week.

Board to meet in person: Wednesday, the Florida Board of Education will meet in-person for the first time since Feb. 12. Department of Education spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said the meeting allows the board to “set a precedent and an example.” She called it “the best way to hold a public meeting” and the “right thing to do.” The meeting will be held in the auditorium or gymnasium at Strawberry Crest High School in Hillsborough County with social distancing or masks if that can’t be maintained. Tampa Bay Times.

Budget concerns: Polk County school officials have issued a warning that they may have to make significant cuts in the budget. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a required $9 million contribution to the state retirement system and cuts in state funding for several other programs have combined to create a dire financial situation, said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd. “We are moving forward cautiously, knowing that later this year, or next, we could face major cuts,” she said. The board has a budget hearing July 28, and is expected to adopt a budget Sept. 8. Lakeland Ledger. Bay News 9.

Teacher pay: The Legislature’s approval of $500 million in raises will provide Volusia County teachers with more pay this year. But district officials warn that they won’t have enough to reach Gov. DeSantis’ goal of boosting that pay to $47,500, because too many teachers make well below that now. “The gap is too wide to close in this school year,” said teachers union president Elizabeth Albert. “We’re going to have to figure out how close we can get.” The district will receive $10.4 million for raises, with 80 percent being used to raise the starting pay from its current $39,609 and 20 percent going to veteran teachers. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

School safety guidance: A Government Accountability Office’s review of U.S. school shootings from 2009-2019 concludes that the Trump administration incorrectly made a connection between school-targeted shootings and school discipline policies that were advocated by the Obama administration to address racial disparities. Instead, the GAO said, most school shootings occur in high-income areas with low percentages of minorities and were committed by current or former students. The Obama era-recommended policies emphasized treating the emotional and behavioral needs of students over suspensions and expulsions. Education Dive.

Superintendent search: Sarasota County School Board members will choose a new superintendent today from a list of five finalists. School board members said the favorites appear to be Marie Izquierdo, chief academic officer in Miami-Dade County; Peter Licata, regional superintendent in Palm Beach County; and Brennan Asplen III, deputy superintendent in St. Johns County. The other finalists are Gonzalo S. La Cava, chief of human resources in Palm Beach County; and Keith Oswald, deputy superintendent in Palm Beach County. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Funding boost prompts change: The historically black Edward Waters College in Jacksonville is using an extra $3.5 million funding boost from the Legislature to transition into a university. The money will be used to support students who are struggling financially, expand academic options, and offer the school’s first graduate-level program, a master’s degree in business administration. Florida Times-Union.

School guardians: Gov. DeSantis’ veto of $41 million for the school guardian program isn’t expected to have a significant effect in the short term for the Citrus County School District, but it could in the future. “I’m sure it’s going to impact us at some point, when we need to get more guardians trained,” said assistant superintendent Mike Mullen. “If it stays gone forever, it’s something we’re going to have to learn to absorb.” Citrus County Chronicle.

Opinions on schools: Without the help of psychotropic pharmaceuticals, it’s hard to imagine that sending a kid to Home Depot, Walmart or another other big box store is remotely like sending a kid to school. Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post. Six education experts address what services school districts should, and should not, cut in the budget crisis caused by the pandemic. The 74.

Student enrichment: Angela Gao, a rising sophomore at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, has reached the finals of the INSPO Research and Innovation Competition for high school students with her research project called “Novel Magnetic Carbon Materials for Containment Removal by Adsorption and Photocatalytic Degradation.” Gainesville Sun. Taylor Aks, a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University High School in Boca Raton, has been selling a quarantine cookbook to raise money for the SOS Children’s Villages Florida nonprofit. In three weeks, she’s raised $1,500. Sun Sentinel.

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