Florida students react to colleges’ reopening plans with mix of optimism, fear
The 12 state schools will reduce class sizes and offer fewer in-person courses, enforce social distancing and require faculty, staff and students to wear face masks. Campuses nationwide have announced similar intentions, even as data indicates a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases among people younger than 45. More from News Chief and USA Today.
Gov. DeSantis vetoes budget for online learning amid pandemic
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vetoed the budget for a package of online education programs that have played key roles for students and educators during the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis's veto, issued Monday, killed the $29.4 million budget for the Complete Florida Plus Program, which provides online platforms that have become more prominent as students and teachers adopt distance learning. The veto also will scrap a database of online courses and an online library service. More from The Hill and Politico.
Alyssa’s Law to require panic alarms in Florida schools
In the school year that starts 2021, every teacher and school staffer in Florida will be able to quietly and quickly tap their cellphone or computer to summon the police. This safeguard will be the result of a new law signed by Florida’s governor Tuesday in honor of one of the students killed in the 2018 Parkland high school massacre. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Gov. DeSantis announces $20 million to state’s historically Black colleges and universities
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state’s commitment to three of the state’s historically Black colleges and universities with recurring funding in the state’s budget at a news conference at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach on Wednesday. DeSantis, who as a congressman represented Volusia County, had developed a relationship with leaders at Bethune-Cookman, and said he wanted to keep the independent HBCUs - historically Black Colleges and Universities - in the budget recommendations when approaching the new year. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
The U.S. Supreme Court decision Tuesday — that states that provide school choice vouchers to private schools must also make them available to religious schools — should have little impact on existing Florida programs where school vouchers already go to students in private and religious schools, legal experts said. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Jacksonville University will begin fall sports without fans [Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville University will not allow fans at its fall athletic events at the beginning of the semester, but left open the possibility that it could change depending on the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic. JU president Tim Cost announced in a video posted on the school’s Twitter site on Tuesday that fans would not be allowed at home games “at least at the beginning of the semester.”
› Hillsborough cancels indoor high school graduations [Tampa Bay Times]
High school graduations at the Florida State Fairgrounds will not happen this year for Hillsborough County, superintendent Addison Davis announced on Tuesday. “This decision was not made lightly, but I must first consider the health and safety of our students, staff and families,” Davis wrote in a message to School Board members that followed nearly a week of alarming COVID-19 statistics in Hillsborough County.
› UF, faculty union agree on paid parental/medical leave [Gainesville Sun]
The University of Florida and the school’s faculty union have agreed on a paid family and medical leave program that officials from both sides are cheering. Bargaining members from the United Faculty of Florida at UF and the university agreed Thursday on an eight-week family and medical leave program paid for by the university. In the past, faculty on parental leave either used accumulated sick or vacation time, or “borrowed” time off which they would later need to reimburse. Employees who fell ill were required to use sick leave or take unpaid time off.
› Broward students will have to wear masks [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
On the bus, in the hallways, anytime they’re moving around: Broward students will have to wear face coverings next year if they can’t stay 6 feet away from their classmates. When they’re seated at their desks, they can take them off, according to a plan presented on Tuesday. That’s because desks are set to be spread 6 feet apart, reducing the size of most classes to 14 students.