Several school boards buck DeSantis administration and defend their own strict mask policies

BY: - September 1, 2021

Meeting a 5 p.m. deadline by the state, at least four district school boards defended their strict mask policies to the Florida Department of Education, the State Board of Education and Commissioner Richard Corcoran – even if it means losing their salaries. The local boards wrote in a letter to the state that they are […]

More school boards face pay cuts and a 5 p.m. deadline to comply with contentious FL mask policies

BY: - September 1, 2021

As tensions rise over punitive measures by the state, several school boards face a 5 p.m. deadline today to comply with state mask policies that some school boards believe are not appropriate to combat COVID-19 amid a surge in Florida. Already, two school boards, Alachua and Broward, have gotten pay cuts from the State Department […]

Prison policy report issues FL prisons an “F” grade for COVID response

BY: - September 1, 2021

Florida state prisons had the nation’s third-highest number of COVID-19 deaths among inmates and was 17th highest in its mortality rate, earning an “F” grade for its COVID response in a 50-state analysis by the Prison Policy Initiative, an independent research and advocacy organization that studies mass incarceration. Florida prisons lost 221 inmates to COVID, […]

DeSantis says vaccines are best tool against COVID; but how’s FL doing on the vaccination front?

BY: and - August 30, 2021

Back in December, Gov. Ron DeSantis prioritized the elderly population for COVID-19 vaccines, a strategy that went against the status quo and pushed for seniors to get the shots first. Eight months later, CDC data show that 82.1 percent of Florida residents 65 and older are fully vaccinated, slightly higher than the national average. Florida […]

45 states have sent in plans to receive more federal COVID funds earmarked for schools; FL is not one of them

BY: - August 30, 2021

Florida is one of only five states that has not submitted a state plan for COVID relief to the U.S. Department of Education, holding up billions in federal funds to help the Florida education system recover from the impacts of COVID-19 in schools. These funds could be used to address learning loss among students due […]

As COVID flares, FL surgeon general Rivkees is on the way out; who will replace him?

BY: - August 27, 2021

Rarely seen in public since April 2020, Florida Surgeon General  Scott Rivkees will officially disappear from the Department of Health next month. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, confirmed Friday that Rivkees, who was appointed by DeSantis in June 2019, will depart when his contract expires Sept. 20. Pushaw, in June, told the Florida […]

DeSantis loses: Judge rules local school boards can implement mask mandates

BY: - August 27, 2021

The DeSantis administration suffered a major legal defeat Friday when a state trial judge ruled that the governor exceeded his authority in blocking school districts from enforcing face mask mandates to inhibit COVID-19 transmission for public school students and staff. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper enjoined  Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the state Department of […]

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Ruling imminent on Gov. DeSantis’ policy on masks in schools and parents’ rights

BY: - August 26, 2021

The fate of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ school-masks policy is now in the hands of a trial judge who conceded Thursday that he’s struggling to reconcile the competing arguments in a lawsuit brought by parents who oppose the policy. “This issue presents a lot of sophisticated legal issues,” Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper told attorneys […]

DeSantis spreads word on monoclonals; faces pushback from big school districts, cruise industry

BY: - August 26, 2021

Amid a court battle and facing pushback from the state’s largest school districts and Florida’s massive cruise industry, Gov. Ron DeSantis continues spreading the word on monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 patients. The governor has been traversing the state, talking about the sites cropping up for treatments that can help prevent people from getting very […]

Judge: Lawsuit over DeSantis schools mask-policy tests uncharted legal waters

BY: - August 25, 2021

The trial pitting parents critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ school masking policies against the administration will extend into Friday. The attorneys presented their last witness on Wednesday, but the judge said he needs to review the evidence before hearing closing arguments. The reason, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper said during a Zoom hearing, is […]


Statewide teacher union uses data, news reports to chronicle school-related COVID deaths and more

BY: - August 25, 2021

As the second school year of COVID-19 continues, Florida’s statewide teacher union is chronicling  deaths, classroom closures, the number of students and staff testing positive and other data that provides a grim yet still incomplete look at how the pandemic is impacting schools. The Florida Education Association has updated its  “Safe Schools Report” for the […]

Will FL families rush to vaccinate children below 12 against COVID? Or will they be hesitant?

BY: and - August 25, 2021

With federal health officials thinking about a new age span for vaccinations — shots to kids below age 12  — families are now confronting questions about whether vaccines would be safe and necessary for elementary-level students. Kids in PreK and elementary schools would have to rely on their parents for consent to get the shots […]