November 29, 2021
Florida universities to assume ‘normal, pre-pandemic operations' when fall semesters begin

Florida Trend Education

Florida universities to assume ‘normal, pre-pandemic operations' when fall semesters begin

| 8/18/2021

Florida universities to assume ‘normal, pre-pandemic operations' when fall semesters begin

More than 300,000 full-time students and 60,000 faculty and staff are returning to Florida’s 12 public universities for fall semester over the next week as “normal, pre-pandemic operations” resume with in-person classes and campus events proceeding without mask mandates or vaccine requirements. The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the 12 public universities, has issued guidance that “strongly recommends” students, facility and staff be fully vaccinated and wear masks indoors regardless of vaccine status and encourages campus officials to administer regular COVID testing, but will comply with a newly adopted state law that prohibits mask mandates. [Source: The Center Square]

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The pandemic accelerated a national trend toward more choice in education

Private schools began the last school year with a financial fright as enrollment fell in the pandemic. The scare didn’t last. Many opened before their public school counterparts, and parents, in the main, returned their children quickly to school. Enrollment ended flat or, at worst, slightly down for many schools. Some saw increases as families moving in from out-of-state either were happy to buy the in-person education that they couldn’t get for free in their former homes or discovered Florida financially supports private school choice. [Source: Florida Trend]

Column: New law ensures Florida students receive education to address trafficking

The start of a school year brings opportunities for new learning, new friends, and new experiences. It also brings opportunities to ensure kids are equipped to help keep themselves safe. As students return to school for in-person instruction, there is a new law that will ensure students in all Florida schools receive comprehensive, age-appropriate, and developmentally appropriate K-12 education instruction to address the prevention of child sexual abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

State program for disabled students continues underperforming during pandemic

As the pandemic stretches into a third school year, learning loss is becoming more severe. According to one estimate, the average K-12 student is starting the school year five months behind in math and four months behind in reading. Another found that the average student scored 8-12 percentiles lower in math than in the 2019-20 school year and 3-6 percentiles lower in reading. [Source: Florida Politics]

Judge to hear Florida parents’ suit against DeSantis' mask mandate ban Thursday

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper on Thursday will hear Florida’s arguments on why he should toss a lawsuit filed by parents of children from seven counties challenging the legality of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates in public schools. Cooper, in a Friday hearing, tentatively set the case for trial on Aug. 23 and said he would issue a ruling that day. He gave state attorneys until noon Monday to file written arguments for dismissing the case, which they did, setting the stage for Thursday hearing. [Source: The Center Square]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Brevard Public Schools starts school year with 3,711 fewer students than expected
Brevard Public Schools is starting the year with 3,711 fewer students than anticipated, according to a head count the district conducted Friday. The gap represents just below 5% of the district’s projected student population of roughly 75,000. Each full-time student is worth about $7,680 in funding. If the students don’t appear, that would mean a loss of about $28.5 million for the school district.

› FSU researcher nets $4.4M grant to advance quantum systems
A Florida State University researcher is leading a $4.4 million Department of Energy project to help create software that can take advantage of supercomputer capabilities and advance quantum information science. The project is led by FSU Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Eugene DePrince and includes collaborators from Virginia Tech, University of Washington, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

› New Florida State President McCullough taking office
Florida State University is getting a new president Monday with Richard McCullough replacing the retiring John Thrasher. McCullough, FSU’s 16th president, had been Harvard University’s vice provost for research. The university’s board of trustees unanimously selected McCullough in June after interviewing its pool of finalists.

› Marion County home school liaisons help students continue learning when quarantined
Marion County Public Schools will designate a home school liaison to each school. It’s only a week into the school year and the liaisons who are already working said they are busy at work with hundreds of students at home either positive with COVID-19 or quarantined. ”I’ve been here five or six days so far this year and I’ve been in touch with dozens of parents and all of the teachers trying to link them together,” home school liaison Bruce Denerstein said. “

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