The American Academy of Pediatrics once again plunged into the growing debate over school reopening with a strong new statement Friday, making clear that while in-person school provides crucial benefits to children, "Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics." The statement also said that "science and community circumstances must guide decision-making."

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to climb, local education officials and parents are grappling with a statewide mandate to reopen schools in August.

C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

The driver makes sure Malik is wearing a face covering when he boards the bus. He arrives at school at about 7:35 a.m., and before he can pick up his breakfast in the cafeteria, he washes his hands. When he arrives in homeroom, he’s with only about a dozen other children, their desks spaced six feet apart.

Florida’s education commissioner issued a mandate Monday, requiring schools to open five days a week in the Fall. Statewide teachers’ union, the Florida Education Association, is questioning the move.

Several Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia have joined in a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, accusing the Trump administration of trying to unlawfully divert pandemic relief funds from public schools to private schools.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Michigan, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin have also joined.

On Monday, Florida's Education Commissioner issued an emergency order for brick and mortar schools to reopen for the fall, with the full array of services schools provide.

It said "school openings must be consistent with safety precautions as defined by the Florida Department of Health, local health officials and supportive of Floridians, young and adult, with underlying conditions that make them medically vulnerable."

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools," Trump said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon at the White House.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The new school year in the Keys could happen three different ways, depending on what's happening with the coronavirus.

Screenshot from Zoom

Each spring, theater students at Miami Dade College write short plays. And then in the summer, they translate them from the page to the stage.

The summer class is titled “Theatre Problems,” honoring the challenges they have to work through to produce, direct and act in the plays. This year, the course really lived up to its name.

David Santiago / MIAMI HERALD

On this Thursday, June 25, episode of Sundial:

Miami-Dade Mayor On COVID-19 And The Civilian Review Board 

Miami-Dade County leads the state in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. On Wednesday, the county reported an additional 957 cases and 24 deaths. 

Some hospitals are finding their intensive care units are reaching close to capacity — Homestead Medical Center’s ICU beds were full as of Tuesday. 

DeSantis Signs Bill To Increase Starting Pay For Teachers

Jun 24, 2020
David Santiago / MIAMI HERALD

Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday put his commitment to increased teacher pay in ink.

“The bill we’re signing today is going to be really great for the teachers of Florida.” DeSantis said at Mater Academy Charter School in Hialeah Gardens, where he signed HB 641, a bill allotting $400 million to raise the minimum teacher salary and $100 million to raise the pay of veteran teachers and other instructional personnel like librarians and guidance counselors.

FIU And FAU Announce Plans To Reopen In The Fall

Jun 24, 2020
Barbara P. Hernandez / Miami Herald

College students all over the world move to South Florida not only for the beaches but for diverse schools like Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. But when COVID-19 arrived in the Sunshine State, schools were forced to close their doors, sending thousands of students back home to complete the remaining months of their spring semester remotely.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

A plan to improve how public schools in Miami-Dade County teach students about racism drew a racist backlash last week — a response that reflected a long history of denying anti-Black prejudice in a place where race relations are more complicated than Black and white.

Hannah Campbell / Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Wild About Wildlife is bringing summer fun into kids’ homes through a mix of animal observations, educational lessons, experiments, and games. This free virtual summer camp was created by Manatee Lagoon and Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Palm Beach County, with the help of other partnering organizations.

The camp’s purpose is to educate kids ages six to nine who are not able to attend summer camps due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The Miami-Dade County School Board voted 8-1 during a virtual meeting Wednesday night to review and enhance how the district teaches racism and empower a student task force to tackle the issue.

The proposal, however, became the target of a misinformation campaign.