With spring break fading into distance learning for Polk public school students this week, the school district has this message for families: “Right now, we are asking parents and students to be patient. Your teacher will contact you with details about how distance learning will take place in their classes.” | ALSO: News Channel 8
A professor at Florida Southern College wants Billy Townsend’s job. William Allen, 45, has filed to run for the Lakeland-based District 1 seat on the Polk County School Board currently held by Townsend, 48. More
With Polk public schools scheduled to switch to distance learning next Monday, the school district will be loaning 60,000 devices to families and teachers are spending their spring breaks trying to figure out which remote-teaching tools to use and how to operate them. (Reminder: The Ledger is offering free access to its coronavirus-related coverage.)
A 21-year-old woman who traveled to Georgia recently is the second person in Polk County with a confirmed case of COVID-19, according to the Florida Department of Health, which is trying to track where she may have contracted it. Ledger article | Interactive Florida map
Other updates from The Ledger, which has lifted its paywall for coronavirus-related articles:
- SCHOOLS in Florida will remain closed until at least April 15 and statewide testing has been scrapped for the rest of the school year.
- CHURCHES are rapidly switching to offering services online to counter empty pews.
- DOWNTOWN Lakeland has several new 15-minute parking spots to assist customers picking up take-out meals from restaurants. ALSO: Nineteen61, Black & Brew pivot, WFLA reports.
Polk school staff prepared 20,000 meal packets Tuesday, the first day the service was provided after schools were closed because of coronavirus concerns. The student must be present to receive a meal, most of which are handed by gloved staff through a car window. Meal service continues through Friday. ALSO: Locations and guidelines | Ledger coverage
A surprise Florida House bill that would have folded Florida Polytechnic University and New College into the University of Florida is off the table for this year’s legislative session, but the House speaker says the idea merits further study.
Parents arrived as early as 2:30 a.m. today to line up at the Polk school district’s Woodlake center off New Jersey Boulevard to register their children for voluntary prekindergarten | Learn how to apply
After several years of planning, a Lakeland educator presented the Polk School Board her proposal to open a charter Montessori school that will offer instruction in English and Spanish to students from pre-k to fourth grade | Mi Escuela Montessori website
As the Florida House prepares to take up legislation that would fold Florida Polytechnic University into the University of Florida, Tampa Bay Times reporter Emily L. Mahoney looks into the bill sponsor’s assertions that the 2012 founding of the Lakeland STEM school was driven by politics. At the time, departing Senate Appropriations Chairman J.D. Alexander pushed the creation of Florida Poly, saying its predecessor school was being ignored by the University of South Florida, which oversaw it. Some say Alexander was motivated by building a destination for a then-proposed toll road that would enhance the value of land owned by his company. ALSO:
- Bill’s backers present no proof of cost savings (WFSU News)
- Tampa Bay Times editorial opposes hasty action on university mergers
Madi Hecox is cleared to play basketball following surgery she had after Southeastern University’s mandatory electrocardiograms for student athletes discovered heart issues.