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Michelle Alvarez

maalvarez@wgcu.org

  • A new program at Florida Gulf Coast University will help students with intellectual disabilities transition from highschool to college.
  • April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a project at Florida Gulf Coast University is encouraging people to look at all kinds of abuse using the symbolism of clothes out on a line.
  • Early on during the COVID- 19 pandemic, places like Immokalee went for weeks with little to no testing. Then, as the vaccine rolled out, few from Immokalee could secure a place in line. But there are other factors that contributed to the disparity in the number of cases and numbers of deaths. WGCU's Michelle Alvarez reports.
  • State health officials reported 6,772 new COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths, Wednesday. So far more than 7.5 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 2.9 million people who have received a first dose and more than 4.6 million who have completed the series.Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a letter to school district officials, Wednesday, advising that mask wearing for students will be optional this fall.School districts in Southwest Florida are planning to scale back their virtual learning options for the 2021-2022 school year. Area school districts are also reporting a surge in new infections after students returned from spring break.Due to reports of rare blood clots, Florida has paused distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Ron DeSantis says despite the pause, Florida’s vaccine supply is still strong. The state’s effort to vaccinate people in prison is also not affected by the pause.Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is calling on Gov. DeSantis to loosen vaccine residency restrictions in an effort to get more undocumented farmworkers vaccinated.
  • State Health officials reported 3.406 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths Monday. Nearly 6.4 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including nearly 2.7 million who have received a first dose and nearly 3.7 million who have completed the series.As of Monday, all adults 18 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Sixteen and 17-year-olds also became eligible for the vaccine, Monday, but teenagers are restricted to the Pfizer version of the vaccine and must have parental consent.Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order, Friday, banning businesses from using vaccine passports to require people to prove they’ve been vaccinated in order to receive services.The Florida Legislature is taking up budget proposals this week and how to use Florida’s share of federal funds stemming from the American Rescue Plan remains a point of contention in budget negotiations.Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are considering several pieces of legislation to limit local-government emergency orders, create a personal-protective equipment stockpile and establish an Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund for use by the governor.Sarasota city commissioners are taking steps to reinstate a mandatory mask ordinance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Deemed "essential workers," farm laborers have been passed over for vaccines in favor of Florida's white population, according to data which shows four-to-one vaccination rates.
  • Federal investigators will look into why more than 400 manatees have died in the state, now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated it an "unusual mortality event."
  • An art installation honoring people who have died from Covid-19 was unveiled Tuesday on the library lawn at FGCU.
  • At a gathering of around one hundred people in Immokalee this weekend, community leaders repeated pleas for justice and transparency in the case of an unarmed farm worker killed by a Collier County Sheriff's Deputy.