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From Kindergarten to K-12, Edtech news, school management and teaching strategies… Education Slice is the only trusted online news source in the US dedicated to covering current headlines, articles, reports and interviews to make sure you’re at the forefront of changes in the education industry.

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San Diego vaccine mandate injunction lifted

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voted on Saturday to lift a temporary injunction that it had placed on San Diego USD’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The decision, reached by a 2-1 vote, lifts the injunction the court had placed on the mandate about a week ago. Judges had said the injunction would continue as long as the district continued to allow vaccine deferrals for pregnant students. But now that the district has removed that condition, the block has been removed too. The decision is the latest development in a legal battle surrounding a mandate that would restrict in-person learning and on-campus activities among SDUSD students 16 and older to those who are fully vaccinated. The policy would take effect January 24th, and students and staff must be fully vaccinated by December 20th. The district insists it’s a necessary step to ensure students and staff are protected against the coronavirus, but critics say it’s an infringement on personal liberty. A 16-year-old junior at Scripps Ranch High School sued the district in October, alleging that the mandate violated her religious beliefs. Namely, she stated that, as a Christian, she is unwilling to take vaccines developed using aborted fetal cells. The district announced the next day that it had removed the pregnancy deferral. That leaves only a limited number of exemptions, such as doctor-certified medical conditions that would make vaccination unsafe. There’s still no exemption for personal beliefs, but the court ruled that there wasn’t clear evidence the mandate had been created to target anyone’s beliefs.

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Ed Dept announces communities of practice to accelerate learning, support kindergartners

The U.S. Department of Education has introduced a new community of practice that aims to assist states and school districts plan and pay for evidence-based programs to help accelerate learning for students, particularly those most impacted by the ongoing pandemic. A second community of practice will investigate strategies to specifically help kindergartners prepare for early school success and learning recovery. This effort will address social-emotional development, family engagement, access disparities to in-person learning and dips in school enrollments. The communities of practice aim to help school systems build capacity to implement interventions so the efforts best address students’ needs. "Students across the country have felt the impact of school building closures as a result of the pandemic," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. "While the good news is that nearly 100% of America’s schools have now returned to in-person instruction, we must provide the necessary supports to nurture all students’ social-emotional well-being, mental health, and positive academic outcomes by addressing the impact of lost instructional time."

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Texas ban on mask mandates in public schools back in place

A federal appellate court has temporarily restored Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting mask mandates in schools. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored the governor’s executive order on November 24th after Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed an earlier decision by a federal district in Austin that allowed schools to enact mask mandates to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The case was originally filed in August by the advocacy group Disability Rights Texas, which argued that the governor’s order and the Texas Education Agency’s enforcement of the ban put disabled children at risk and denied them access to public education. “The risks of contracting COVID-19 for these plaintiffs are certainly real, but the alleged injury to plaintiffs from the enforcement of [the governor’s order] is, at this point, much more abstract,” the 5th Circuit judges wrote. An attorney with Disability Rights Texas expressed disappointment with the 5th Circuit’s decision. “Our suit has always been about allowing students with disabilities at high risk of COVID to attend schools in person as safely as possible,” attorney Dustin Rynders said. “As new COVID variants threaten to make an improving situation worse again, it is imperative schools have the option of requiring masks in the class, campus or district as needed to protect vulnerable students.” An additional briefing and hearing on the matter will go before the 5th Circuit’s panel of judges at a later date.

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Education Slice
Florida officially withdraws from National School Boards Association

With a bipartisan unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Florida School Boards Association has joined more than 20 other states who have officially cut ties with the National School Boards Association. The vote was taken during the Florida School Boards Association’s 71st annual Joint Conference and Board of Directors’ Meeting going on this week in Tampa. Dr. Steve Gallon III, National Chairman of CUBE and the Vice Chairman of Miami Dade Public Schools, presented a passionate speech calling for the support of principals for public education and repeated time and again how the lack of transparency and accountability has led to his support to separate ties with the national body. According to Brevard County School Board Member Matt Susin, conversations before the vote were centered around the lack of response to a letter FSBA sent to the NSBA with a list of demands that went unanswered.

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