Governor Ron DeSantis has already announced that K-12 students will have their mandatory state testing canceled, and now, students won’t return back to school until April 15th. Distance learning is on the menu when they return from their respective spring breaks.
“It is crucial that we keep students safe and healthy, and I will continue working with each and every district to ensure that they have all the resources necessary as we respond to COVID-19,” says Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
But what about college students?
“The State University System is actively monitoring conditions in the State of Florida as it pertains to COVID-19 and working closely with Governor DeSantis and state officials to take all actions necessary to protect the health and safety of our campus communities,” the University System said on its website.
USF and UCF have announced that all on-campus events are postponed indefinitely, including commencement ceremonies.
Students around the state aren’t taking the news well. UF and FSU students started online petitions calling on school administrations to switch to pass/fail grading systems and complaining about not getting the education they paid for.
“As impacted students, we demand that our university represent our best interests by moving to a pass/fail grading system for the semester,” says the wording in one petition. “The transition itself to online classes represents a deterioration in the quality of our education, since professors did not have a meaningful amount of planning time for this change.”
Students at both schools cited numerous factors as to why pass/fail would be better for all students, including the fact that people shouldn’t have to worry if they need to help their families during the health crisis, and not being able to pay full attention to their studies, or international students that may have flown back home having to log onto class in the middle of the night for their interactive learning.
So far, it is unclear whether or not school leaders will pay the petitions any heed. They can take some solace in the knowledge that large groups of protesting students are highly unlikely, and any protests will be restricted to online only, since the chances of classes returning to normal this school year are slim.
Per Governor DeSantis’s press conference yesterday, “reducing large groups of 10 or more” is the best thing we can do currently, and he suspended all bars and nightclubs from operating in Florida for the next 30 days.
As of today, there are 328 confirmed cases and 7 coronavirus deaths. According to Florida Today, “South Florida continues to see the largest number of residents with coronavirus, with 55 in Broward, 43 in Miami-Dade and 13 in Palm Beach. Those counties account for more than 51 percent of the statewide COVID-19 cases.”