PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lynn Hatter

Lynn Hatter is a  Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative.  When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.

Phone: (850) 487-3086

  • A plea for help by the National School Boards Association is having a ripple effect in politics—riling local school board members, already-angry parents, and causing the Florida Association of School Boards to distance itself from its national arm. In Leon County, angry parents blasted their local school board after the national association likened certain threats to domestic terrorism.
  • The federal government recently announced it would investigate threats against local school board members. The announcement comes amid growing acrimony between parental groups and public school leaders over issues like face masks and critical race theory. Yet, where some see a threat—others see an exercise of free speech.
  • There is no mistaking where Dr. Joseph Ladapo stands when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. As one of his first official acts as Florida’s new Surgeon General Ladapo signed off on a Department of Health Rule change—that effectively nullified mask mandate lawsuits filed by several school districts.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis says school districts that choose mask mandates could see their school board and superintendent’s salaries cut. a group of parents have filed suit over DeSantis’ executive order in Leon County Court, and a second mask lawsuit has been filed in South Florida. Democratic Senators have pledged to create a GoFundMe campaign to help repay any school leaders who lose their salaries by trying to put a student mask requirement in place.The ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations has resulted in an exponential increase in pediatric patients requiring treatment and hospitalization in Lee Health’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers. The start of a new school year, with mask wearing optional, is alarming local healthcare professionals, who shared their experiences treating children sick with COVID during a news conference, Tuesday.Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Lee Health both reported record-high number of COVID -19 patients admitted to their hospitals with 201 and 455 patients, respectively.Florida health officials and the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis said late Monday that the number of new COVID-19 infections reported publicly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was wrong. Finger pointing over the data comes as the numbers of hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 increases.The Celebrity Cruise Line plans to sail and comply with a state order barring businesses from requiring proof of vaccination status by placing several restrictions on passengers who refuse to provide proof of vaccination when asked.
  • Over the weekend, the nationwide COVID-19 surge surpassed 100,000 new confirmed daily infections. The AP reports, that milestone was last exceeded during the surge this past winter. The current resurgence is being driven by the more transmissible Delta variant and lower vaccination rates in Florida and other Southern states. Florida accounts for one in five new COVID-19 infections nationwide, which is more than any other state. The Tallahassee Democrat reports, the state broke another record for most reported new cases in a single day with 23,903 cases reported Friday, according to the CDC.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported, Saturday, that there were 13,750 COVID-19 patients in Florida hospitals, marking another record high.Florida’s State Board of Education approved two emergency rules related to the ongoing pandemic, further riling up worried parents who are preparing to send their kids back to school classrooms this month. The first rule involves how students will be counted for attendance: kids who must quarantine due to coronavirus exposure or infection will be counted present if they have to learn at home. The second rule now in effect would allow students who are bullied over COVID to transfer to other schools using the state’s HOPE scholarship voucherStudents in K-12 schools throughout Southwest Florida return to the classroom Tuesday, Aug. 10, including in the Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota County school districts. In Lee County, officials announced over the weekend that there will be a mask mandate. Parents who want to opt their kids out of mask wearing can do so by filling out a form that the district said it will make available by Monday evening.Private Catholic school students within the Diocese of Venice in Southwest Florida return to the classroom Monday, Aug. 9, and many parents are expressing anger over a last-minute decision to impose a mandatory mask policyA federal judge, Sunday night, granted the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line's request to temporarily block a Florida law that bars businesses and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination status.The AP reports, the judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Norwegian, as the company seeks to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status of passengers before they board a ship.Florida hospital leaders and Gov. Ron DeSantis are urging more people to take advantage of monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 treatment that is proving to be very effective at preventing serious illness.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently expanded its emergency use authorization for the therapy.
  • With Florida at the epicenter of a nationwide resurgence of COVID-19 infections, some local governments are defying Republican Governor Ron DeSantis with new mask and vaccine mandates. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried plans to begin providing daily COVID-19 data to the media after the state switched to only providing weekly data in June. Lee Health and NCH hospitals report 600% and 800% increases in COVID-19 patients who are mostly unvaccinated. High levels of community spread and low vaccination rates are putting many nursing homes in Florida at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks. Some facilities are taking extra precautions.
  • Florida’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is the largest ever, coming in at $100 billion. Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $1.5 billion in spending. Most of that is federal money the legislature intended to use to create an emergency response fund.
  • State health officials report that Florida has seen more than 2.3 million COVID-19 infections and more than 37,500 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. As of last Friday morning, the state division of Emergency Management reports that more than 10 million people in Florida have been vaccinated against the virus, including more than two million people who have received a first dose and more than 8.1 million people who have either completed a two-dose series or who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.The Florida Department of Health data scientist who built the state’s online COVID-19 dashboard is receiving whistleblower status. Rebekah Jones was fired last year after raising questions about the accuracy of pandemic data being reported by the state.Gov. DeSantis says Florida will penalize cruise companies that require proof of vaccination of travelers on board under a new state law, but the federal government says cruise ships need to follow vaccination requirements in order to restart cruising. Under the new state law set to take effect July 1, Cruise companies would be fined $5,000 for each customer who must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.A new study from the policy think tank, the RAND Corporation, finds students who attended school remotely during the pandemic had worse outcomes in math and language arts than students who attended a hybrid model and those who went to class in-person.
  • The Senate Rules Committee scheduled a last-minute meeting to hear a bill aimed at policing. The proposal is a compromise between the Legislative Black Caucus and Republicans, and comes after high-profile deaths of Black Americans by law enforcement.
  • A plan to term limit local school board members is still moving in the House following an affirmative vote in the chamber’s Education and Employment Committee Thursday. The measure has undergone changes, but that may not be enough to get it to the finish line.