The Point, June 16, 2021: How The Pandemic School Year Affected Some Alachua County Students


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• WUFT News: Over A Third Of Alachua County Public Schools Students Fall Behind As The School Year Closes. “Parents and experts worry about pandemic-related learning loss as national data show millions of students are falling behind. While there’s no concrete data currently available for students’ performance in Alachua County, several teachers and parents are noting deficiencies in students’ learning.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Ruling: Diyonne McGraw may vote as school board member, but residency question remains. “Alachua County School Board member Diyonne McGraw will not see her voting rights as a member of the board curtailed, at least not immediately, a judge ruled Tuesday.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: Banko asks DeSantis to step in; McGraw wants new maps. “McGraw’s proposal came after two weeks of controversy regarding her current residency in District 4, although she was elected to represent District 2. McGraw’s defeated opponent in the 2020 election, Khanh-Lien Banko, took the issue to court last week, but on Tuesday, hours before the school board met, a judge ruled McGraw could continue to participate while the issue is resolved.”

• WUFT News: LifeSouth Community Blood Center Continues To Face Type O Blood Shortage. “LifeSouth Community Blood Center needs at least 100 donations a day to keep the local blood bank at a safe threshold, but donations lately have been around 70 per day. LifeSouth is not alone; blood centers across the United States have a critical blood shortage problem, especially for Type O blood.”

• News4Jax: Gainesville police asking for spiritual help. “…chief Tony Jones said expectations for potential chaplains include maintaining high spiritual and moral standards, being available to respond to situations whenever they are requested, and they should be actively serving a city congregation or organization.”

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Around the state today

• WLRN: In Florida, Police Shootings Could Be Shrouded In Secrecy For Years To Come. “It wasn’t a direct decision by lawmakers or the governor that made this reality but a long-term consequence for a poorly-understood, and well-funded, ballot amendment that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2018. That amendment, known as ‘Marsy’s Law,’ created a broad ‘right to prevent disclosure of information’ for anyone considered a victim of crime.”

• Florida Today ($) Saharan dust storms, more frequent and more intense, headed to Florida, researchers say. “…new NASA research is split on whether Florida will see more or less of these yearly Saharan dust storms that fuel red tides and many a sneeze. One new NASA study predicts climate change will drive more frequent and intense dust storms off Africa. Another by the same agency says the opposite.”

• Spectrum News: Florida no longer tracking COVID-19 nursing home data. “…staff and resident vaccination rates are also no longer being collected from long-term care facilities. At last check, the statewide rate for nursing homes was just over 40 percent.”

• News Service of Florida: DeSantis Could Bypass Cabinet On DEP Pick. “In what would be a precedent-setting action, DeSantis indicated he might only need approval of the appointee from the Legislature. The issue came up during a Cabinet meeting when Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried asked about plans to replace former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein.”

• WMFE: UCF Receives Largest Gift In Its History, 40 Million Dollars, From Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott And Husband Dan Jewett. “UCF President Alexander Cartwright says the money will help support first-generation and minority students on campus.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): A new Howard Frankland is rising, with tolls, bike lanes and room for rail. “Since it opened in 1960, the bridge has emerged as the region’s most frustrating chokepoint and most indispensable link. Maybe this expansion will fix things.”

• Associated Press: Court: Former Florida Chief Justice Alderman Dies At 84. “James Alderman, a former Florida chief justice and prominent cattle rancher, has died at age 84, according to the state Supreme Court. … Alderman, a sixth-generation Floridian, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1978 by then-Gov. Reuben Askew. He served there until 1985, including two years as as chief justice from 1982 to 1984.”

• St. Augustine Record ($): Federal investigation initiated into St. Johns County Schools’ dress code policy. “The school district received a complaint Monday from the Department of Education’s OCR’s southern regional office (Complaint No. 04-21-1208), alleging its dress code has unfairly targeted female students; publicly humiliated those female students; and also altered only female, not male, images in this year’s yearbook photos for Bartram Trail High School, one of nine secondary schools in the county’s public school system.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida Elections Law Draws Another Challenge. “As challenges to a new Florida elections law stack up, a case filed Monday in federal court alleges that part of the law placing requirements on voter-registration organizations is unconstitutional.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): Black man Rubin Stacy was lynched in Fort Lauderdale in 1935. Now street signs may bear his name. “The hanging tree where a lynch mob gathered to gawk at the bullet-riddled body of Rubin Stacy is long gone. But the 1935 murder of the Black farmhand — and the way the crowd of close to 1,000 children and adults treated it as a public spectacle — still casts a painful shadow over Fort Lauderdale’s history. Now city leaders want to honor Stacy by giving a 2-mile stretch of Davie Boulevard a second name: Rubin Stacy Memorial Boulevard.”

From NPR News

• National: The U.S. Has Hit 600,000 COVID Deaths, More Than Any Other Country

• National: Senate Unanimously Approves A Bill To Make Juneteenth A Public Holiday

• Health: A 3rd Dose Of COVID Vaccines May Boost Immunity For Transplant Recipients

• Planet Money: How ‘Chaos’ In The Shipping Industry Is Choking The Economy

• Politics: Trump Pressed The Justice Department To Reverse The Election Results, Documents Show

About today’s curator

I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news

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