CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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Education

    Students stuck at home can now explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) online through free online courses from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “We want to help children keep learning while they are out of school,” said Embry-Riddle President P. Barry Butler, Ph.D. in a press release” We are happy to provide quality content that gives students of all ages the opportunity to master new skills that will serve them well now and in the future.” The general public is also welcome to take the two open online courses.  The six hour courses are self-paced and have no prerequisite requirements.  “Aviation 101” is geared toward learners of any age. Exploring aerodynamics, airport operations, air traffic control and a variety of other topics in a nine-lesson video series, the course offers participants a head-start on pursuing a variety of high-paying jobs throughout the aviation industry. “Aviation is Your Future,” an introduction to aviation for children aged 8 to 17, is a self-paced, six-hour online course that introduces young people to aviation fundamentals. The course explores basic aspects of flight, as well as teaches participants how to identify major parts of an airplane, describe the flight characteristics of a helicopter and discuss space exploration. In addition to the general aviation class, students can choose from the following courses that also do not have any prerequisite requirements: Aviation 101 (Introduction to Aviation) ASCI 202 (Aeronautics Pathway) ASCI 254 (Aviation Legislation) CSCI 109 (Introduction to Computers & Applications) BIOL 120 (Foundations of Biology) HIST 130 (History of Aviation in America) WEAX 201 (Meteorology) SOCI 210 (Introduction to Sociology) Click here for more information. 
  • Administrators at the Lansing Christian School in Michigan went all out to kick off remote learning by creating a  ‘Frozen Parody.’ The video starts at the Principals office, where Mr. Klein is working on his computer, but seems a little bored. He then begins to sing “Do you wanna come and learn now” to the tune of “Do you wanna build a snowman” from Disney’s Animated movie Frozen.  The video shows the principal moving throughout the empty school and he eventually meets up with another teacher (with an amazing voice) who joins him in the parody to transition the song to the tune of   “Let it go” but sings “Learn at home.” The video even has a portion in Spanish as it incorporates the rest of the teachers.  It ends with Mr. Klein walking back into his office singing “Students never bothered me anyway.” Watch the video below, but take note, you may find yourself humming the lyrics all day! App users click here to see the video.
  • Teachers and staff from Timber Lake Elementary school used social distancing Sunday night to show support to their students and parents as they prepare for distance learning.  A parade of 25 cars drove through the neighborhood near the school in Avalon Park. Drivers honked and passengers waved as they held signs that offered hugs from afar and read, “We miss our Wolf Pups.” Orange County Public School shared a video of the parade on twitter. App users click here to see the video. Sunday marked the end of Spring Break for students and the beginning of online instruction as the United States reacts to the outbreak of COVID-19 or the coronavirus.  Orange County Public Schools announced they would transition to online learning on March 13th, initially it would be for two-weeks, but that has been extended through April 15. 
  • University of Florida Provost Joe Glover sent an email Monday to faculty recommending they begin the shift to an online format to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The entire statement can be found on the UF.edu website under health - it reads.  MARCH 9 UPDATE - COVID-19 AND ONLINE CLASSES In response to the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., Provost Joe Glover sent a memo to academic deans today recommending that instructors move their courses from face-to-face delivery to an electronic delivery mode effective immediately, wherever possible. While this is not a requirement at this time, there is a strong probability that it will become a requirement before the end of the spring semester, and so instructors are encouraged to transition now. Instructors should continue to follow their syllabus, assignment and exam schedules, and office hours schedule. Instructors are responsible for notifying their students in advance about the shift to the online format and to communicate regularly to them expectations surrounding assignments, exams, etc. Help is available to assist faculty with transitioning at https://elearning.ufl.edu/keep-teaching/  The university will make every effort to be considerate of instructor and student concerns during this unprecedented situation. Instructors are strongly encouraged to be similarly considerate of student concerns.  As of now, the university is planning to deliver the usual summer sessions. However, it is possible that circumstances may require all courses to be delivered online. A spokesperson told The Independent Florida Alligator that “ UF has the technical capacity to move fully online,” but stopped short of identifying a specific point as to when that would happen.  In the meantime, The Tallahassee Democrat reports that administrators at Florida State University are also discussing distance learning options in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. The University of Central Florida is on spring break this week, so far administrators there say they are monitoring the situation and are working with local and state health departments to be prepared. They say they are meeting frequently to “plan necessary precautions and help make decisions related to the virus.”
  • HB 7087 will go before the full chamber in Tallahassee today. The legislation could change the landscape of state universities possibly merging  New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic with the University of Florida by July 2021.  The controversial move could lower tuition but also disrupt the degree plan for current students who have been traveling to the state capital to protest the bill.  State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay drafted the proposal and told ABC News that it was done to prep for a financial belt-tightening. Fine said it's only a matter of time before Florida has a recession. Saving now, will benefit everyone later. The merge has a lot of opposition on both sides of the aisle but further down the bill addresses what could be a welcome change for some Bright Future’s Scholars. Currently, the Bright Futures Medallion award pays for 75 percent of a students college tuition, but that would jump to 100 percent if the student chooses to enter an associates degree program first.  That 100 percent award would transfer with the student who maintained a 3.5 or higher GPA when he or she moves on to a four year degree program.  Students who earn between a 2.5 and 3.49 GPA will still be eligible for the 75 percent award toward their Bachelors degree. If the bill is signed into law, the changes will affect students who enter college in the Fall of 2021.   
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new citizenship requirement for all high school seniors Tuesday as part of his plan to add more emphasis on civics education. The new test will be similar to the exams required to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.  'You may need some skills you learned in school, you may not need others, but no matter what you do, you are going to be required to exercise the duties of citizenship.' DeSantis said. He is moving quickly on the issue,  asking Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to roll out a trial run of the test this year,  that’s if they can work quickly enough with the state Legislature. By next school year, the Governor wants the exam in place, but no decision has been made if passing the test will be a requirement for graduation. The discussion on civics education for grades K-12 will continue and we expect more announcements in the coming months. The announcement comes as part of the executive order DeSantis issued in January, calling for a complete overhaul of Florida's education standards, which included eliminating Common Core, a set of education standards from 2010.
  • A second round of results from a statewide survey on school compliance with new state safety laws is expected to be released this afternoon. The report will be given to the statewide commission created in response to last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who will be meeting in Sunrise over the next two days. This is the second compliance survey conducted by the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools. Results of the first survey were released two month ago and showed that nearly 200 schools did not have armed security officers, as required by Florida law. None of the schools were publicly identified due to the anonymity of the survey.  Now some members of the commission are urging Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to publicly identify school districts that had yet to meet all of the state’s school-safety requirements that were implemented after the February 14, 2018 shooting in Parkland. The final decision on whether to publicly identify the non-compliant school is expected this afternoon when the results of the second survey are delivered. The commission will also be discussing several other school-safety topics such as training for school resource officer and how often active-assailant drills are needed.  This is a developing story check back here for updates. 
  • Students in Central Florida head back to school today. Drivers can expect more traffic while parents and buses take their children to school.  Traffic reporter Raquel Asa from our sister station, WFTV Channel 9 Eyewitness News,  sat down with a panel of traffic safety experts who explained what drivers should look out for as the new school year begins. They said the biggest problem continues to be drivers not stopping for school buses.  The traffic safety experts also talked about how new cellphone laws apply to school zones. Drivers who violate the cellphone laws within a five-year period can face three points on their license and a $164 fine. Here's how to know if you have to stop for a school bus while driving: Here's how to know if your child's bicycle helmet properly fits:
  • All Florida schools are now linked to an app called FortifyFL that allows users to send information to school officials and law enforcement immediately. A student, teacher, parent or anyone can send pictures, a video or simply information through the app and can also receive followup if selected. The app is part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act and was named by students from the school. Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties have released statements about school safety and what they are doing to intercept suspicious activity. In addition to the ForitfyFl app Orange and Seminole counties are both promoting the speakout hotline. This is a toll free phone number and website to report tips anonymously.  It’s also linked to a smartphone app called P3 campus that is designed to receive tips. The product is similar to the FortifyFL app, but is being offered nationwide. P3 was a direct result of David’s law, which was established after the 2016 suicide of David Molak. He was the victim of cyber bullying.  The P3 website shows that 9:00 p.m. is the time that most reports are sent to the database and the top three concerns are suicide, bullying and drugs on campus.  It also shares the disturbing fact that in 81 percent of violent incidents in the U.S., someone other than the attacker knew the incident was going to happen and failed to report it. Here are the links to the apps and websites mentioned above. Click here for FortifyFL Click here for the speakout hotline. Click here for the p3 campus site. Also see the links below for your districts school safety statement for 2019-20. Click here for Orange County Click here for Seminole County Click here for Osceola County
  • Get ready, get set and plan to shop Florida’s back-to-school tax holiday which is set for Aug. 2-6. During those dates there will be no sales tax on a variety of items, including: Footwear, clothing and certain accessories that are less than $60 each Some school supplies less than $15 each Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories less than $1,000 or less per item. If the personal computer you buy is over $1,000, then only the first $1,000 of the total price will be tax-exempt. There are some rules that go along with the tax-free shopping holiday, other than price restriction. This sales tax holiday does not apply to: •  Books that are not otherwise exempt; •  Computers and computer-related accessories purchased for commercial purposes •  Rentals or leases of any eligible items • Repairs or alterations of any eligible items •  Sales of any eligible items in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport. Click here for the complete list from the Florida Department of Revenue.