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Teachers Next Up For COVID-19 Vaccines, Student Hunger, And Black Golfers Who Fought For Equality

Miami Herald
Sarita Sanmiguel’s kindergarten class at Redland Elementary in south Miami-Dade on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the first day that Miami-Dade public school students returned to their classrooms, after learning remotely since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Getting teachers vaccinated and getting food to students. Plus, the story of a group of Black golfers who stood up against segregation, the city and its white elites.

On this Wednesday, Feb. 24, episode of Sundial:

Teachers Are Next For COVID-19 Vaccines

The next group of people who will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are classroom teachers, law enforcement officers and firefighters who are 50 years and above, announced Gov. Ron DeSantis at a Tuesday press conference in Hialeah.

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What does this mean for South Florida teachers?

“I've had numerous phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, text messages that they [teachers] are excited that they're being considered. It's a first step to getting all of our educators in our school sites and buildings to all of Broward County Public Schools and across the state of Florida,” said Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union.

Broward has about 5,040 teachers age 50 to 64 who would qualify. Miami-Dade has 8,478 and Palm Beach County has 4,514 in that age group, according to our news partner the Sun Sentinel.

Teachers, and the others in this group, will be eligible to get vaccinated only at four FEMA sites across the state, according to Gov. DeSantis. The only FEMA site in South Florida is at Miami-Dade College North Campus.

“We don't yet know exactly whether it would be Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine [for teachers]. But, I do want to emphasize for listeners that these are both fantastic vaccines and that no one should feel upset because they got this one or the other one. All of the medical experts say get whatever is offered to get that vaccine,” said Verónica Zaragovia, WLRN’s health care reporter.

If you’re looking for updates on the vaccine, you can check here.

Teachers Are Next For COVID-19 Vaccines
Several COVID-19 vaccines are being studied in trials around the country. Once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine for use, health leaders must decide which groups of people get to receive the vaccine first.

Student Hunger

Thousands of students in South Florida are struggling during the pandemic. And it’s not only the online classes, homework and test taking. Those who are most vulnerable also face the challenge of not having access to food.

“Before the pandemic they [schools] had sent home permission slips for people to sign up where they have to do an explicit act to say, ‘Yes, we need help.’ They didn't get as much response as they expected. Now, what the schools are doing is, they just set up carts with bags of food. And when school lets out, the kids just grab a bag on their way to the bus or to the school,” said Nancy Klingener, WLRN’s Florida Keys reporter.

Klingener interviewed Denise Santiago, a principal at Horace O’ Bryant School in the Monroe County School District.

“It [feeding children] truly is not something new. It is something that I feel like has always been a challenge for us, having been at the same school, the same clientele of children that come to our school.The need has always been there, but it is a greater need and it is something that we do discuss more,” Santiago said.

You can find all of the stories from our Class of COVID-19 series here. And sign up for the special newsletter, focused on the stories behind the reporting in the series, here.

Student Hunger
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A Group Of Black Golfers Who Fought For Equality In The 1940s

A group of Black recreational golfers from the 1940s stood up against the city of Miami and white elites to oppose segregation on the city’s public golf course.

Black people could play on the course but only one day a week, Monday, which was the day that was set aside to maintain the course and do things like cut the grass.

“It was just really an affront to their human dignity,” said Yanela McLeod, who is a professor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. “This is a symbol of segregation that Black people are going to look at to say if we tear that down, that's going to express our demand for equal rights in this country.”

McLeod is the author of the book "The Miami Times and the Fight for Equality." It explores that golf course fight, which was led by the Black-run newspaper The Miami Times, which remains in publication to this day.

“They are behind the scenes launching this lawsuit and trying to figure out the best way to tear down segregation in all aspects of public life in Florida and particularly in Miami,” said McLeod. “ And so because it lends its pages as a voice of protest, also for information and unification, it will get the attention that it needs for people to rally behind this golf case.”

The case eventually reached the state Supreme Court, which opened the door for the golf course to be desegregated.

A Group Of Black Golfers Who Fought For Equality In The 1940s
Schoolchildren and NAACP members parade in Washington, D.C., on May 17, 1979, the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that ended racial segregation in American schools.

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Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.