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Your Coronavirus Update For Monday: Florida Nears One Million Cases; Online & In Person Learning Options Remain For Florida Students

Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran talks to reporters at a press conference at Boggy Creek Elementary in Kissimmee on Monday November 30th, as Gov. Ron DeSantis looks on. Image: Florida Channel.

Florida nears one million cases

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

The Florida Department of Health reported 6,486 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the cumulative case number to 999,319. With 98 new deaths reported, the state’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 18,834.

Experts warn there could be a surge in cases in the coming weeks, after Thanksgiving holiday gatherings.

The percent positive rate for new cases was 8.4%. The percent positivity for all residents tested Sunday was 11%, which is the highest it has been over the last 14 days.

The Agency for Health Care Administration listed 4,147 people hospitalized statewide with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.

Florida schools will continue with in-person & online learning in 2021

Joe Byrnes, WMFE

Florida public school parents will have the same distance-learning and in-person options for their kids in the spring semester, and schools will get the funding to make that happen. Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced Corcoran’s new emergency order today from Boggy Creek Elementary in Kissimmee.

Emergency Order 7 again requires districts to keep schools open for face-to-face learning during the pandemic. 

DeSantis praised Florida’s approach as better for education and safe for kids.

Now schools must notify parents if their children have problems with online instruction. Districts must have plans for helping students who fall behind.

“School’s got to reach out to that parent, lay it on the line for them and just say, ‘Here’s what’s happening. This is not good. You need to send your kid back or you have to affirmatively say you want to remain virtual,'” said DeSantis.  

Corcoran says the order was developed in collaboration with the superintendents. 

“These are their ideas on the ground, talking to their teachers, talking to their parents,” said Corcoran.

Superintendents will rest better at night knowing there is fiscal stability, says Osceola County’s Debra Pace.

“We do know that learning happens best in a classroom with a caring teacher, surrounded by their peers, but we also know that that’s not the right option for some of our families, some students who’ve been successful in the digital-learning world,” said Pace. 

“So we’re very, very appreciative of being able to continue to offer that option.”

District plans for the spring semester are due December 15th.

Here’s a roundup of stories you may have missed:

As Hospitals Fill With COVID-19 Patients, Medical Reinforcements Are Hard To Find

Carrie Feibel, NPR

Hospitals in much of the country are trying to cope with unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Sunday, 93,238 were hospitalized, an alarming record that far exceeds the two previous peaks in April and July, of just under 60,000 inpatients. Read more here.

Fauci Warns Of ‘Surge Upon A Surge’ As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit Yet Another High

 Matthew S. Schwartz, NPR

The number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus set yet another record on Saturday, as cases continue to surge and public health officials warn of a worsening outlook with the holiday season just weeks away. Read more here.

Orlando Singer Chloé Hogan On Competing In NBC’s ‘The Voice’ & Singing During The Pandemic

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Orlando singer Chloé Hogan is on the biggest stage of her life- competing in NBC’s The Voice. WMFE’s Matthew Peddie talked to Hogan about the challenge of competing and isolating during the pandemic-  and making it through the knockout round. Listen to the interview here.

Bay Street Players struggle to keep the stage lights on at State Theatre of Eustis

Joe Byrnes, WMFE

The nonprofit Bay Street Players have entertained audiences and educated kids at the State Theatre of Eustis for 45 years. But this holiday season’s musical production of “A Christmas Carol” could be their last big show. Their theater is failing after COVID-19 forced closure and now keeps people away. Listen to the story here.

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About Matthew Peddie

Matt Peddie