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Testing delays, coronavirus and Florida schools, state budget vote, sales tax hike deal and more

Testing delays: Significant changes in testing for high school students were announced Monday. The College Board said that the scheduled SAT test days March 28 and May 2 have been canceled. The March 28 date was a makeup day for the March 14 tests that were canceled earlier. ACT Inc. said its test that was scheduled April 4 is now set for June 13, and it’s working on getting instructions to those students on what to do next. Finally, the Advanced Placement program said it’s working on a plan to allow students to take AP exams from home. Officials said more information will be announced by March 20. Politico Florida. Other ways the American education industry was affected on Monday by the coronavirus. Politico Florida. Education Week.

Coronavirus concerns: More on the coronavirus outbreak in Florida and the United States: The first volunteers receive the test vaccine in Seattle; the U.S. surgeon general says the United States is where Italy was two weeks ago in cases; President Trump has recommended limiting gatherings to 10 people, urged schools to provide remote instruction, and said older Americans should avoid discretionary travel and dining out; schools are closed but not all day-care centers are; schools continue to prepare for what could become a long shutdown that would lead to educating students online; 450 Duval County School District employees are self-isolating; some districts announce they will pay teachers while schools are closed; and more. Meanwhile, more districts and other organizations announce their schedules to continue feeding low-income students while schools are closed. Florida Department of Agriculture. Tampa Bay Times. WTXL. WTVJ. WOFL. Miami Herald. Florida PoliticsWKMG. WPLG. Palm Beach Post. WPTV. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA. WFTS. WJXT. Pensacola News Journal. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WINK. Florida Today. WZVN. St. Augustine Record. Florida Times-Union. Tallahassee Democrat. WFSU. Fort Myers News-Press. Naples Daily News. WCJB. Lakeland Ledger. Bradenton Herald. Ocala Star-Banner. Cape Coral Daily Breeze. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Northwest Florida Daily News. WMBB. Key West Citizen. Citrus County Chronicle. Positively Osceola. Osceola News-Gazette. Port St. Joe Star. Despite recommendations from government agencies to cancel all large gatherings for at least eight weeks, the Florida High School Athletic Association says it’s still leaving decisions on school sporting events to local districts. TCPalm. Naples Daily News. Orlando Sentinel. Daily Commercial. Panama City News Herald. Questions and answers about the coronavirus, and a glossaryFlorida Department of HealthFlorida Department of Education. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Tampa Bay Times. How can schools help “flatten the curve” in the number of coronavirus cases? The 74.

Budget vote Thursday: The Legislature will convene at noon Thursday, one member at a time in the chamber closed to the public, to vote on the $93.2 billion state budget, which includes $500 million for teacher raises, $42 million to harden schools against intruders and a three-day back-to-school tax holiday Aug. 7-9, among other items. Miami Herald. News Service of Florida. Florida Phoenix. Here’s more about the education bills that didn’t get approved in this year’s legislative session, including the ones dealing with school safety, parental rights, school board term limits, early education and student testing. “I think it was a pretty good session,” said state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon. “In fact I think it was probably the best session I can remember in a very long time for traditional public schools because it’s like if it’s the NBA championship and you’re playing LeBron James and you fight to a draw, you had a pretty good night.” Florida Politics. News Service of Florida.

Sales tax hike settlement: The coronavirus pandemic and a bill passed by the Legislature have created uncertainty around the potential settlement between the Duval County School Board and the Jacksonville City Council over when to hold a referendum to raise the sales tax by a half-cent to benefit schools. The council has canceled its meetings for the month because of the virus, which has postponed a final vote on putting the measure on the November ballot. That vote is the key to the settlement of the lawsuit the board filed against the council when it refused to put the issue on the ballot. And a bill passed by the Legislature last weekend will require charter schools to receive a proportionate, per-student share for charter schools from money raised through tax hikes, which board members say changes the terms of the district-council agreement. Florida Times-Union.

Opinions on schools: Here’s how coronavirus is affecting my students. Sara Rubenstein, Tampa Bay Times. Florida was successful in answering the first generation of school choice questions, such as how to start programs or convince people to try them. Now there are a second generation of challenges of building a successful infrastructure, and perhaps none is more important than transportation. Michael McShane, redefinED. School choice is a proven plus for Florida’s education system. Scott Kent, Gainesville Sun. Competing views over the place of religion in Florida’s public schools have once again surfaced. This argument is as old as our country. Sue Legg, Gainesville Sun. Perhaps the next time we are driven out of our physical classrooms by a global pandemic, we will be equipped to provide a learning environment of the highest quality using future advances in virtual reality. Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow.

Student enrichment: Katerina Nikiforova, a junior at Marathon High School, is named the Monroe County School District’s Sunshine State Scholar. The program selects the state’s top 103 junior STEM students to participate in a think tank on challenges facing the state. Keys Weekly.

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BY NextSteps staff