Latest On Coronavirus: Highest State Death Toll Yet, DeSantis Wants School Flexibility, And More
WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:
Here are the latest figures as of Thursday, July 23, according to the Florida Department of Health:
389,868 — Positive Tests | 5,518— Deaths
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
Florida COVID-19 Death Toll Climbs To Highest Yet
State health officials report Thursday's death toll due to COVID-19 is the highest on record.
The daily report from the Department of Health showed 173 deaths in the state in the 24-hour period since Wednesday’s report, bringing the statewide total deaths to 5,518.
The previous single-day high was 156 deaths on July 16.
In the greater Tampa Bay region, health officials reported 56 people died, including 22 in Pinellas County. [Read more]
-- Lisa Peakes
DeSantis Urges Flexibility In School Reopenings
As school districts in Florida gear up to open brick and mortar campuses in the fall, Governor Ron DeSantis says he’s supporting choice for parents and students.
The state Department of Education’s emergency order calls for in-person instruction to be made available for the coming school year, unless local or state health departments say otherwise. But it also allows districts to get funding for students who opt for distance learning.
During an uncharacteristically short televised address Wednesday, the governor said he wants districts to have flexibility regarding when they start the year.
“For those teachers who may be higher risk or even those who just don’t feel comfortable with in-person instruction – they should be given the option of working remotely. Why force someone to be in the classroom if they’re uncomfortable doing so? Let’s just find a way to make due,” DeSantis said. “And if a school district needs to delay the school year for a few weeks so that everything will be in good shape? Have at it.” [Read more]
-- Ryan Dailey, WFSU
Pasco Teachers: 'We Want To See Our Kids. But We Also Don't Want To Die.'
As coronvirus cases continue to rise in Florida, most counties are going with a hybrid plan that has many students attending school at least part-time. WUSF is amplifying the voices affected by this issue.
We hear from Jeremy Blythe, a culinary teacher at Land O' Lakes High school in Pasco County. He recently organized a "motor march" protest for teachers to push for virtual school only until the state's positive cases average fewer than 5% over a 14-day period. [Read more]
-- Daylina Miller
When Schools Across Tampa Bay Will Reopen
Many local school districts have pushed back their start dates, as talks continue about how to re-open safely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the latest plans from around the greater Tampa Bay region. [Read more]
-- Kerry Sheridan
Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group To Be Disbanded
The Emergency Policy Group that has guided Hillsborough County through the coronavirus pandemic will likely be disbanded. County commissioners will vote Aug. 5 whether to take over its role.
The Hillsborough County Commission had already voted to restrict the emergency group to dealing only with hurricanes. But at a specially-called meeting, board members voted unanimously to abolish the group. [Read more]
-- Steve Newborn