Districts propose delays in starting school year, online-only learning, new superintendent and more

Reopening schools: Florida school boards are considering and approving district reopening plans, which must be submitted to the Florida Department of Education by July 31. Here are the latest developments:

Broward County: Without a significant and quick turnaround in the outlook of the coronavirus pandemic, Broward County schools will begin the school year Aug. 19 with online instruction only, Superintendent Robert Runcie told school board members Tuesday. “That is the only way we can educate our students while keeping them and our teachers healthy and safe,” he said. “When conditions improve … additional options will be introduced.” Those options would include in-person classes, virtual learning or a hybrid model combining them. Board members agreed, with Rosalind Osgood saying, “I’m not going to be involved in killing people.” Sun Sentinel. Miami Herald. WPLG. WSVN. WFOR.

Orange County: After a 10-hour meeting Tuesday, school board members have delayed making a decision on the district’s reopening plan. Members want more time to consider comments from parents and teachers, and agreed to resume their discussion Friday morning. The plan proposes to delay the start of school from Aug. 10 to Aug. 21. Face masks will be required of students and staff, and learning options include in-person and remote learning or some combination of the two. Teachers will have the option of working from home or at school. Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said the goal was to “provide safe options, choices, for both parents and our employees.” Orlando Sentinel. WKMG. WFTV. WMFE. WESH.

Palm Beach County: School board member Barbara McQuinn said she will ask her colleagues to consider delaying the school year, an idea that gained support when it was first proposed last month by Debra Robinson. McQuinn said the delay would shorten the time students spent learning online, which she said has been a “nightmare.” The board is considering the proposed school reopening plan at today’s meeting. Palm Beach Post. Palm Beach County’s health director said Tuesday that the rate of positive coronavirus cases among children under the age of 18 has recently increased from 29.1 percent to 33.6 percent. WLRN.

Duval County: All students will wear face masks and those in elementary schools can attend classes in-person five days a week if they want to when schools resume Aug. 10, according to the plan presented Tuesday by Superintendent Diana Greene. Middle and high school students would start by attending classes a couple of days a weeks with remote learning on other days, but transition to the option of full weeks in-person by Labor Day. Greene called that “a bridge to reopening,” and will require a waiver from the state. Students who choose online learning can stay enrolled in their current school. Florida Times-Union. WJXT. WJAX. Two groups of community activists hold a car parade to protest premature school reopenings. Florida Times-Union. WJXT. WTLV.

Polk County: Students will begin school Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 10 as scheduled because of the spike in coronavirus cases, Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd announced Tuesday. She said the start could be pushed even further and that the year could start with online learning only if that happens. If conditions allow, students will have the option of in-person classes, or learning remotely on a set schedule through the eSchool or through the Polk Virtual School, in which students set their own schedules. Masks will be required. Lakeland Ledger. WKMG. WFLA. WTVT. WFTS. WOFL.

Pinellas County: Superintendent Michael Grego said the district’s plan is still to open Aug. 12, with in-person and virtual options, but warned the first day  could change at any time if the coronavirus continues to spread. “We really don’t know exactly what we will be seeing 20, 28 days moving forward,” Grego said. “This plan is fluid.” Students and staff will wear masks or face shields, and students can pick in-person instruction or one of two virtual options. Tampa Bay Times. Florida Politics. Patch. Teachers and parents protested against starting the school year in classrooms. Tampa Bay Times. Reopening plans for Tampa Bay area districts. WTSP. WTVT.

Pasco County: School officials said students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks on campus. Athletes will be encouraged but not required to wear masks during games. The new rule will be reviewed at the July 21 school board meeting, and voted on July 28. Tampa Bay Times. WTSP.

Brevard County: Schools will open a week later than scheduled, Superintendent Mark Mullins announced at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The scheduled Aug. 11 first day has been moved to Aug. 17 to allow more time for preparation and technology training for teachers. Students will be expected but not required to wear masks. New virtual learning options will also be offered. The board is expected to vote on the reopening plan next week. Florida Today. WOFL. WFTV.

Osceola County: Aug. 24 is the new starting day for schools. The school board approved the two-week delay Tuesday as part of the district’s reopening plan. Students will be able to choose from in-school instruction, flexible virtual learning and remote learning with their assigned school on the traditional schedule. Face masks are required. WKMG. WOFL. Teachers and school employees protest the plans to reopen schools. WESH.

Seminole County: The school board approved the district’s reopening plan and moving the start of school back from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17. Students will have the options of a traditional school day, studying online or splitting their days and doing both. Orlando Sentinel. WKMG. WOFL.

Manatee County: Schools will start a week later, on Aug. 17, although Superintendent Cynthia Saunders warned the school board that could change. Students will have the option of a normal, five-day-a-week schedule at school, continuing with online learning or rotating between the two each week. Masks will be required for students and staff. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WWSB. WFLA. WTVT. WFTS. A group that formed through Facebook has organized a protest against the reopening of schools. Bradenton Herald.

Collier County: The first day of school has been pushed back to Aug. 19 to give the school district staff more time to prepare, said Superintendent Kamela Patton. The rest of the school reopening plan will be announced today. Naples Daily News. WINK. WFTX. WBBH. WZVN.

St. Johns County: A majority of board members have asked the district to push back the start of school at least two weeks. The scheduled start is Aug. 10. The delay would give the district more time to prepare and train teachers, and parents more time to decide on which learning option they want for their children. The plans calls for masks on buses, in classes and in hallways. St. Augustine Record. WJXT. WJAX.

Sarasota County: School board members have approved delaying the start of the school year from Aug. 10 to Aug. 31. They said at Tuesday’s meeting that it provides more time for the district and teachers to prepare. The reopening plan allows students to learn in person fulltime, livestream their classes on a schedule or enroll in the virtual school. Some type of mask protocol will be in place, though the details aren’t final. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WWSB. WFLA. Charlotte Sun. WFTS.

Clay County: Four learning options will be offered in the reopening plan: in-person for all grades, one of two online choices or a blend of in-person and online for students in grades 7-12. Still to be decided is whether students will be required to wear masks. WJXT.

Leon County: As part of the district’s reopening plan, schools will start Aug. 19 instead of Aug. 10 as originally scheduled. The school board approved the plan Tuesday. Students have the choice of attending school in-person, or selecting one of two online options. Masks will be required on buses, between classes and whenever social distancing isn’t possible. WTXL.

Bay County: Schools reopen Aug. 11 with masks required when social distancing isn’t possible and options to learn in school, online or from home, under the plan approved Tuesday by the school board. WJHG. WMBB.

Charlotte County: The district’s tentative school reopening plan released Tuesday offers students the options of attending school, continuing with remote learning or schooling at home. Face masks will be used, though how much has yet to be decided. Charlotte Sun.

Flagler County: A third option for learning has been announced for students when schools reopen. Students can now choose to stay enrolled in their schools virtually and follow a normal school-day schedule, attend schools in-person or elect online learning through the iFlagler Virtual School. WKMG.

Sumter County: The proposed school reopening plan includes in-person learning, remote learning while following the assigned school’s teachers and schedule, and a virtual program that has a flexible schedule. Masks will be required on buses and encouraged in schools. WFTV.

Gadsden County: Schools will start Aug. 31, the district announced Tuesday. The reopening plan includes face coverings for students and in-person and remote learning options. WTXL.

Bradford County: Masks for students will be optional when schools reopen Aug. 10, and students have the options of in-person learning or one of two virtual methods. Temperatures of students will not be checked. WJXT.

Gulf County: Students will have the options of in-school or remote learning when the new academic year begins Aug. 10. WMBB.

More on the coronavirus: Volusia County school officials have recalled waiver forms that they said were mistakenly sent to some district coaches and student-athletes. Daytona Beach News-Journal. A Volusia County football player at Spruce Creek High School and a summer school student in Lake County have tested positive for the coronavirus. Daytona Beach News-Journal. WOFL. The Trump administration has rescinded a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule that would have forced international college students to return home if they weren’t taking in-person classes. Associated Press. Politico. Masks have become a flash point in America, and it’s carrying over as districts prepare for school reopenings. Associated Press.

Superintendent chosen: Brennan Asplen III has been chosen unanimously over four other candidates to become the new superintendent of the Sarasota County School District. “He’s a great listener, kind, and he wants to be in Sarasota County,” board member Jane Goodwin said of the current St. Johns County deputy superintendent. “He’s not looking at Sarasota County as a stepping stone to another area. His vision and his goals are in line with what we want.” Board members said after the tumultuous term of former superintendent Todd Bowden, they liked Asplen’s humility and reputation as a team player. Board members said they’d like Asplen to start as soon as possible. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WWSB. Charlotte Sun.

Teacher pay: The Leon County School District will receive about $5 million from the Legislature’s $500 million bill to raise teacher pay, but Superintendent Rocky Hanna said it won’t boost starting pay anywhere close to the $47,500 goal Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted. Hanna said the current $37,500 starting pay could be bumped to $40,000 or $41,000. “We’re going to stretch that money as far as we possibly can,” he said. Tallahassee Democrat.

School renovation begins: Work has begun on the renovation of Howard Bishop Middle School in Gainesville. Nineteen classroom buildings, a kitchen and labs and bathrooms will be torn down and 12 new buildings are expected to be completed next year. Gainesville Sun.

Back-to-school tax holiday: Florida’s annual back-to-school tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday. Purchases eligible for the tax break are clothing, shoes and some accessories that cost less than $60 apiece, school supplies that are less than $15 each, and personal computers and accessories costing less than $1,000. Bay News 9.

Education podcast: Lynne Munson, the CEO and founder of the PK-12 curriculum-developing company Great Minds, talks with Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill about developing materials for social studies and history, the Common Core academic standards, technology and how today’s textbooks and materials can disempower student learning. Step Up For Students hosts this blog. redefinED.

Old salute resurfaces: Two employees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and an instructor at the University of North Florida are seen giving an apparent anti-Semitic salute in photos from the 1980s that have resurfaced. All three were in the Kappa Gamma fraternity at Gallaudet University at the time. The university suspended the fraternity last month, saying it had become “the face of racism” on campus. Florida Times-Union.

Opinions on schools: We don’t need a national back-to-school strategy. In areas where schools are closed, state lawmakers could just give parents and students who wish to opt out of those schools the students’ per-student spending amount to use for home-schooling resources, private school tuition, tutors and more. Or erase district boundaries and allow students to choose a traditional school other than his or her assigned school. Jonathan Butcher, redefinED. A competent Trump administration would have started planning how to reopen schools as soon as they closed four months ago. A competent DeSantis administration would have done the same thing. Randy Schultz, Sun Sentinel.