MIAMI — The Latest on Florida schools reopening and power outages remaining as state recovers from Hurricane Irma (all times local):
Florida students displaced by Hurricane Irma will be able to take virtual classes so they don’t fall behind.
Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that Florida Virtual School will provide remote access to educational resources to all Florida students who were displaced by the massive storm. FLVS will also provide access to digital educational materials to help the hardest hit school districts as they work to return to normal operations.
Many school districts were reopening Monday, with more set to reopen within the next week. Students unable to return to their home districts in the near future will be able to enroll in comparable FLVS classes and then re-enroll later at their old brick-and-mortar schools.
Florida Gulf Coast University in storm-struck Fort Myers is holding graduation in December after all.
The school thought it would need to push the commencement ceremony back to possibly January because of the impact of Hurricane Irma on its academic calendar and questions as to whether the on-campus Alico Arena could host such an event.
But FGCU President Mike Martin says a deal was struck to hold the commencement in smaller bites, doing so by college. So the originally scheduled Dec. 16 date is back on.
Martin says with help of student body president Jalisa White and others, “we’ve got a solution that ought to be acceptable to the vast majority.”
The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has sent more than 700 employees to treat medical emergencies in areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.
HHS Secretary Thomas Price visited Marathon in the hard-hit Florida Keys with Gov. Rick Scott on Monday. Price said he worried about problems polluted waters and carbon-monoxide poisoning may cause for people returning to the island chain.
Residents were allowed to return throughout the Keys on Sunday, a week after Irma struck.
Monroe County’s director of emergency management, Martin Senterfitt, says initial estimates show 20 percent of Florida Keys homes “are not livable right now.”
In a tweet Monday morning, Monroe County officials said more than 19,000 Keys households have registered for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Some Florida colleges are getting back to work after Hurricane Irma, while others will have to wait several more days.
The University of Central Florida, in Orlando, has the state’s largest enrollment at around 66,000 students. Classes there resumed Monday and unlike some schools in the state, UCF won’t have to significantly alter its academic calendar for the fall semester. UCF is also making accommodations for students who were called up for National Guard duty.
Barry University, based in Miami Shores, plans to resume classes on Tuesday. The University of Miami won’t have undergraduate classes until next week, and already has called off its fall break to help make up for lost time. Florida International is working on its revised schedule, one that will have an extra week of classes tacked onto the original plan.
Hundreds of thousands of Floridians are still without power more than a week after Hurricane Irma slammed into the state.
The state’s emergency management division reported Monday that more than 407,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity. That’s nearly 4 percent of all utility accounts in the state.
Large numbers of people in the badly-damaged Florida Keys as well as those in southwest Florida are still in the dark. Nearly 30 percent of homes and businesses in both Collier and Monroe counties remain without power.
Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest utility, said it will take until Friday to restore electricity to most homes in southwest Florida.
Nearly 53,000 customers in Miami-Dade County are still without electricity as well.
At least 48 county school districts in Florida will be serving free breakfast and lunch to all students through Oct. 20 as classes resume after Hurricane Irma.
More counties may be added to that list in the coming days.
In a statement Monday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a plan to make meals available to the students in those 48 counties through the National School Lunch Program.
The counties include the hardest-hit by Irma: Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Collier.
State officials say as many as 3,000 schools and 2.5 million students may benefit from the plan.
Miami-area students have returned to school amid ongoing Hurricane Irma cleanups.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho tweeted late Sunday that power and air conditioning had been restored to all schools. One middle school remained closed Monday for cleaning.
Early Monday, Carvalho tweeted that welcoming students back to class was “a step toward normalcy.”
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the Sun Sentinel that all students will be offered free breakfast and lunch for several weeks.
In the Florida Keys, Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter aims to have students back in class on Sept. 25.
Students in southwestern Florida also will miss another week of school. Collier County school district officials told the Naples Daily News on Friday that staff and school buildings were still struggling with power outages, sewage backups and repairs.
Miami-Dade and Broward counties will reopen schools the first time since before Hurricane Irma threatened to hit South Florida.
The schools in both counties are scheduled to open Monday.
The Miami Herald reports one school in Miami-Dade County still doesn’t have power. Air conditioning may work on one part of campus, but not another. Power might blip on and off through the day. Broward officials say power has been restored to all schools there.
As in Broward, Miami-Dade schools will offer not only the free breakfast available to all students, but a free lunch until further notice. All tardies and absences for Monday will be considered excused. Wednesday remains an early release day. Thursday is a teacher planning day, which falls on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.