Vaccinations for children: The Biden administration told the nation’s governors on Tuesday to start making plans to vaccinate elementary-age children in November. White House officials told the governors that they’ve bought enough pediatric doses from Pfizer to vaccinate the 28 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 who will be eligible for the shots once they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is expected later this month or early in November. “We’ve secured plenty of supply, and we’ll be putting in place an allocation, ordering and distribution system similar to what we’ve used for the other vaccines,” said White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients. Vaccine trials are now underway for children under the age of 5. ABC News.
Around the state: A majority of Broward school board members said they aren’t ready to give interim superintendent Vickie Cartwright the job before a national search is conducted, Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna has relaxed the district’s preK-8 face mask mandate but says the district could still be out of compliance with the state’s rules, the number of reported coronavirus cases in the Lee, Collier and Bay school districts are down sharply, Brevard school board members approve a resolution to change the rules on public comments at meetings, teachers in St. Lucie County are now entitled to 10 days of paid COVID-19 leave if they’re required by the district or health officials to quarantine, and a “school of rock” program is being established in an Escambia County school. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:
Broward: School board members voted 6-3 on Tuesday against offering the superintendent’s job on a permanent basis to Vickie Cartwright. The majority agreed that Cartwright has done a good job and proposed changing her interim contract to allow her to apply for the permanent job. But they pointed out that she’s only been on the job since Aug. 1, and they want to conduct a national search before making a decision on a replacement for Robert Runcie, who was indicted for perjury and resigned in August. Cartwright said she will continue in the interim role and plans to apply for the permanent job. “I’m committed to this community and the relationship I’m developing on behalf of our district,” she said. “I will continue to be steadfast and making sure we continue the positive momentum we have going on right now.” Sun Sentinel. Miami Herald. WPLG. WSVN. WFOR. WTVJ.
Polk: School district paraprofessionals and support staff will receive raises retroactive to July 1 by the end of this month. The contract agreement, which was approved by the school board Tuesday, boosts entry-level hourly pay to $11 and gives all active employees a 2 percent raise. Lakeland Ledger.
Lee, Collier: The number of coronavirus cases reported in the Lee and Collier school districts has dropped by 70 percent in the past month, according to an analysis of data from each district’s website. Cases are down 80 percent in Collier since Sept. 10 and 67 percent in Lee. Fort Myers News-Press. Lee school member Chris Patricca’s recent comments about Guatemalan students have drawn the attention of other board members. In a joint resolution, board members said they were saddened by Patricca’s comments, but a motion to conduct an “abuse of power” investigation into her comments failed to gain majority support. Fort Myers News-Press. WFTX.
Pasco: County commissioners have tentatively approved new district boundaries that, if kept, could place a school board member outside the district she now represents. The school board has used county commission district boundaries since 2011. School board member Alison Crumbley said she was “pretty insulted” by the commission’s new map. “It puts me out of running again, unless we redistrict (separately),” she said. She and other board members also criticized commissioners for making the changes without consulting school board members, and said the board might draw its own boundaries. Tampa Bay Times.
Brevard: School board members approved a resolution Tuesday that would move public comment on items not on the agenda to the end of board meetings, stop speakers from raising signs and allow board members to limit the number of speakers. The board decided on the changes as a way to cut down on the increasingly lengthy and rowdy meetings. “We appreciate all the parents. We appreciate very good discourse. We appreciate your opportunity to speak to us,” said board member Matt Susin. “But we also need to protect when people are doing things that aren’t appropriate like we’ve seen either in our county or in other places.” WMFE. WESH. The district and the teachers union have reached an agreement on parental leave, but several other issues must still be resolved. Teachers had asked for 15 days, up from the current five, but accepted the seven days offered by the district. Florida Today.
Sarasota: A 26-year-old Venice woman has been arrested for placing a loaded handgun in her kindergartner’s backpack and then forgetting about it. The child discovered the gun at Taylor Ranch Elementary School on May 4 and contacted a teacher, who notified a school resource officer. Ariana Carroll was arrested Monday and charged with contempt of court for a weapon offense, unsafe storage of firearm. Charlotte Sun. WWSB.
St. Lucie: District teachers now have 10 days of paid COVID-19 leave if they’re required by the district or health officials to quarantine. The policy change was made after the state issued a rule giving parents the authority to decide whether to quarantine their asymptomatic children who are exposed to the virus. WPTV.
Escambia: A “school of rock” is being introduced at Dixon School of Arts and Sciences. The class, a collaboration between the district and the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, will be taught by Miguel Aldahondo, the chorus’ associate director of community programs. Middle-school students will be the focus of the class, which is designed to provide a “blend of diverse musical genres, traditional music instruction and social emotional learning in a rock band-style performance group.” Pensacola News Journal.
Leon: Superintendent Rocky Hanna, citing declining numbers of coronavirus cases, has relaxed the district’s face mask mandate for students in pre-K through 8th grades. The students will still be required to wear masks, but can opt-out with a parent’s approval. Previously a note from a doctor was required to opt-out. Hanna said the district could still be out of compliance with the state’s rules, since it requires quarantined students to get a PCR test if they want to return to school before the end of their quarantine. The state’s rule calls for use of rapid-results tests. The students who are exposed to the virus but asymptomatic are also required to wear a mask if they decide to return to school instead of quarantining for seven days. Tallahassee Democrat. WFSU. WTXL. WCTV.
Bay: The number of coronavirus cases in the school district has declined by 80 percent among students and 70 percent among employees since the Aug. 23 peak, school officials said this week. WJHG. WMBB. The district is beginning a new counseling program this week that offers students a chance to be placed in small groups with other students who are dealing with the same issues. “When you bring those experiences in and you’re learning from each other, with a mental health professional kind of guiding and facilitating that group, it allows them to develop some coping skills and not feel so isolated and alone,” said Surfside Middle School guidance counselor Kristy Robb. WMBB. Four new school lunch menu items are being introduced this week in county schools. Students will vote for their favorites, and least favorites, which will help determine future menus. Panama City News Herald.
Colleges and universities: In January, Florida students interested in going to college can consult a new dashboard that will assess whether certain majors are worth pursuing based on loan debt, salaries and other financial outcomes. Florida Phoenix. Applications to medical schools at the University of Central Florida, Florida State University and the University of South Florida are up by about 1,000 people. “You have a pandemic like this, and it sparks people to be like, ‘You know, what I really want to care for people. And maybe this is an outlet for me to do that. I have, you know, the skill set and the ability to be a physician and I have that desire in my heart.’ And that sort of just awakens people to jump into that,” said Jeff LaRochelle, dean of academic affairs and a medical professor at UCF. WMFE.
Board associations’ spat: The Florida School Boards Association is refusing to pay its dues after the National School Boards Association asked the federal government for help in monitoring “threat levels” to local school boards and officials. The Florida board said the national organization made the request “without consultation of our association or your own board of directors.” News Service of Florida.
Around the nation: Parents are suing two Wisconsin school districts after their children contracted the coronavirus. The parents contend the districts “recklessly” refused to impose COVID-19 safety measures recommended by the CDC. CNN.
Opinions on schools: We want administrators and teachers to ask themselves: What can we do to ensure that parents or caregivers who have been marginalized by the school system can be more engaged with our school family? Lauren Barlis, reimaginED. A personalized education for your child is what’s right. I like the scholarship option because it gives parents the opportunity to place their child in an educational setting that is smaller and geared toward the child. Katrina Gray, reimaginED.