January 26, 2021
More colleges plan to reopen in the spring, even as COVID cases surge

Florida Trend Education

More colleges plan to reopen in the spring, even as COVID cases surge

| 12/31/2020

More colleges plan to reopen in the spring, even as COVID cases surge

Some colleges and universities are determined to invite students back for the spring semester, even as COVID-19 infections hit record levels. For a growing number of colleges, reopening is a matter of financial necessity rather than public health. As long as schools continue to operate remotely, a significant number of would-be college students are opting out entirely, which has put an economic stranglehold on higher education. [Source: CNBC]

Florida bill seeks to impose uniform standards on private, charter, public schools

Florida is committed to investing billions on tax-funded school choice vouchers to pay private school tuition for an ever-widening cadre of eligible K-12 students in the coming years. Democrats will again attempt in 2021 to impose the same academic and oversight standards that public schools must meet on more than 2,800 private schools attended by 400,000 K-12 students across the state. [Source: The Center Square]

Schools scrambling for substitute teachers

Schools need substitutes, long stereotyped as mere stand-ins, to stay open during a pandemic, and many schools are finding they don’t have enough. In recent weeks, school districts from Nevada to Rhode Island have shifted to remote instruction in part because so many teachers were quarantining, districts couldn’t track down enough qualified adults to cover their classes. [Source: Stateline]

Colleges say SAT, ACT score is optional for application during COVID-19, but families don’t believe them

Many higher education administrators insist students don’t need an ACT or SAT score to be admitted to college this year. So why the skepticism? Much of the college application process has long seemed veiled and uncertain to families. A high test score may seem like a concrete indicator of a student’s ability to get into a college with acceptance rates in the single digits. And some families and students have questioned why colleges have simply said the exams are optional. Why not say they won’t consider test scores at all? [Source: USA Today]

Coronavirus led to a dad’s new passion: building desks for e-learners

Donnie Dewey learned woodworking from his stepfather, and it became a passion for him. On Facebook, he saw stories about people who were building desks for distance-learning students during the pandemic. I should do that, he thought. Then: I am going to do that. Building them was something he could do for families who might be struggling. He knew, from his stepmother who is a teacher, how tenuous education is for so many this school year. But, for the 42-year-old business executive and former Marine, it was a whole lot more. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› This FAMU law student wants to inspire Black kids to become lawyers
He went onto Google and typed in children’s book for Black kids going to medical school. No results. Then, book for Black boy who wants to go to law school. Nothing. So, Okoye Morgan wrote his own titled The Boy Who Went to Law School. He’s 25, a third-year law student at Florida A&M University.

› A St. Petersburg native, he’s headed to Oxford as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar
When Jackson Willis was a junior at Yale University, he regularly scouted postings for Peace Corps positions. Many required a college degree and professional experience. One night, on a whim, he applied for an opening that excited him — to work on youth unemployment in Guinea. He didn’t expect to hear back, but the Peace Corps called to say a position had opened. Willis, 24, had already signed up for his senior year classes and moved into his dorm, but he jumped at the opportunity.

› UCF researchers developing AI to help students with autism
Nine-year-old Aiden sat in a dark tent, talking with "Zoobee." Zoobee is an animated character on a computer who talks with students who have developmental disabilities, like Aiden. For now, Zoobee is controlled by an actual person who replies to Aiden. However, researchers with the University of Central Florida (UCF) are trying to gather enough data from Aiden and the other test participants to create artificial intelligence (AI) for Zoobee. That way, the computer could communicate with students like Aiden who have trouble relating to people on a social and emotional level.

› Bay County students can attend school next year without COVID-19 vaccine
Bay County students can skip the COVID-19 vaccine when they return to school next year, health officials say. Currently, the state Department of Health doesn't plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students to attend Bay District Schools. School districts aren't the decision makers when it comes to immunization — the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Education are.

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