The Point, Aug. 20, 2021: Trial Scheduled In Challenge To Florida Governor’s Ban On School Mask Mandates


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• News Service of Florida: Judge Clears Way For Lawsuit Over Florida School Mask Order. “Five school districts as of Thursday had enacted mask mandates that allow exceptions only for medical reasons. The Alachua, Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Hillsborough districts made the decisions despite heavy pressure from the State Board of Education, which contends that requiring medical reasons goes against the state rule.”

• The Alligator: COVID-19 Update: Positive cases peak as UF nears start of Fall in-person classes. “Preceding the start of classes, UF reported 185 new cases from Aug. 11 to Aug. 17. The campus maintained a 6% seven-day positivity average rate as seen over the past month — an increase from its 1% weekly positivity rates reported (in) early July.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: Q&A with new SBAC member Mildred Russell. “Russell, a 36-year resident of school board District 2, will serve in the role until next year’s special election to finish the four-year term of Diyonne McGraw, who was elected in 2020 but lived just outside the district boundary. Russell is an ordained minister who has been active in Republican politics for three decades.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Despite protests, Gainesville won’t retreat from mandatory COVID-19 vaccines. “Employees will have an extra two weeks until they are required to get COVID-19 vaccination shots as a condition of employment, commissioners decided during their regular meeting.The commission’s vote was 5-2, with commissioners Desmon Duncan-Walker and Gail Johnson who are opposed to the mandatory vaccines voting no.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala’s new electric garbage trucks may surprise some homeowners. “The city’s pilot program for the electric trucks will begin in about a month. Each truck will run an average 75-mile route daily, picking up trash from about 1,000 containers holding up to 95 gallons each. And do it much more quietly than a diesel rig.”

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Around the state

• WUSF: Rain May Force The Release Of Treated Water From Piney Point Into Tampa Bay. “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says ‘innovative water treatment technology’ has removed most of the harmful nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from the ponds at Piney Point, a former phosphate processing plant.”

• Palm Beach Post/ProPublica: “A Complete Failure of the State”: Authorities Didn’t Heed Researchers’ Calls to Study Health Effects of Burning Sugar Cane. “Health officials in Florida’s sugar belt failed to act on recommendations to study the health impact of cane burning, despite decades of internal research and complaints from residents.”

• Florida Politics: Ex-NPA candidate Alex Rodriguez will take plea, assist prosecution of Frank Artiles. “Prosecutors charged Artiles with illegally funding Rodriguez’s bid against former Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, with whom the third-party candidate shares a last name. Then-Sen. Rodríguez lost the race to Republican candidate Ileana Garcia by just 32 votes. Alex Rodriguez, who ran with no party affiliation, pulled in nearly 6,400 votes.”

• WFLA-Tampa: Buccaneers won’t require fans to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination for games at Raymond James Stadium. “The NFL doesn’t have a set policy for vaccination and mask requirements for fans at games, so teams have different policies in place. The Las Vegas Raiders announced all fans attending home games will be required to show proof of vaccination for coronavirus. Fans who have not been vaccinated can still attend, as long as they get the shot on-site and wear a mask inside the stadium. Those who are vaccinated will not need to wear masks.”

• Pensacola News Journal ($): Former Sheriff Morgan repays county for statue of himself after community backlash. “(David) Morgan said he decided to repay the cost of the statue of himself out of his own pocket after reading (Current Sheriff Chip) Simmons’ comments about the bronze likeness in the News Journal, in which Simmons said, ‘You don’t make a statue of yourself. And you don’t use tax dollars to do it.'”

• Miami Herald ($): Please don’t duct-tape the passengers: Airline sends memo to flight crew amid meltdowns. “One instance earlier this month involved a drunk man flying Frontier to Miami who groped and attacked flight attendants and then was wrapped like a mummy before being arrested for battery on the ground.”

From NPR News

• Education: The Topic Of Masks In Schools Is Polarizing Some Parents To The Point Of Violence

• Education: Polls: Parents Support School Mask Mandates But Oppose Student Vaccine Requirements

• Education: Teachers In Washington State Must Get Fully Vaccinated — Or They Could Be Fired

• World: The Phone Call That Made An Afghan Woman Doctor Flee

• Business: Federal Trade Commission Refiles Suit Accusing Facebook Of Illegal Monopoly

• Science: Bats Love To Babble — Just Like Humans

• National: Fines For Disruptive Plane Passengers, Often Over Masks, Have Reached $1 Million

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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