Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, as we get over the hump of the week! Here are the 5 Things You Need To Know in and around Osceola County:
1. Class of 2020 graduation ceremonies are moving from Osceola Heritage Park onto high school campuses.
Based on the Florida Department of Health’s Public Health Advisory, the Osceola School District has decided it will be unable to hold the traditional graduation ceremonies planned for the week of July 6, 2020 at the Silver Spurs Arena.
The district had postponed graduations traditionally held in May in hopes that health and safety conditions regarding COVID-19 would improve. But with the CDC still recommending that people not gather in groups larger than 50, that has not occurred.
Not long after the School District made the decision and announcement on Tuesday, schools made their own graduation ceremony plans for the same days. Consult the high school’s websites or social media accounts for specifics for each one’s plans, or go to Positively Osceola’s Facebook page, which lists each one of them.
2. Governor Ron DeSantis was in Orlando on Tuesday, to discuss rising COVID-19 cases and how Orlando Health officials and business regulators are able to respond.
DeSantis and hospital officials talked about how broader testing and, more importantly, people attending social gatherings without masks or social distancing, is more responsible for rising number of cases than businesses opening safely.
Orlando Health Chief Medical Officer George Ralls said the hospital network has capacity for everyone, and they haven’t had to tap into surge capability, even with the number of cases rising. Its hospitals have seen an increase in the number of hospital patients due to elective surgeries and people who put off acute care during the past couple months.
Meanwhile, DeSantis said the state will crack down on businesses open beyond capacity, where spread of cases is documented. The state’s Department of Business Practices and Regulation has already shut down a bar near UCF where 28 patrons and 13 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and DeSantis said there will be more licenses pulled at full restaurants and bars. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at 50 percent indoor capacity under Phase II.
The Department of Health reported 67 new COVID-19 cases overnight, a new daily high. Osceola has now logged 1,147 cases since March 13.
3. Join local leaders and the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce today for the official ribbon cutting of Huntington Learning Center.
The grand opening of Huntington Learning Center’s new St. Cloud and Kissimmee location will be today from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the center, located at 4554 13th Street in St. Cloud, between the Home Depot and Wal Mart. The event will include a tour of the new location and VIP meet-and-greet with photos, followed by a luncheon.
This is a great opportunity to network, see the new location, support a new local business, celebrate our community, and learn more about how Huntington Learning Center helps students in grades K through 12 improve their report cards, test scores and confidence.
4. On Tuesday, UCF presented its plans for re-opening the campus in the fall to students to the Florida Board of Governors.
Like most public places these days, especially in Orange County that now has a mandate for them in public, the plan includes face coverings, and the school has also ordered 1,200 hand sanitizing stations that will be strategically placed around campus.
Some groups will be required be tested upon return to UCF: all students returning to university-owned housing; all students and staff residing in on-campus Greek housing; and all student-athletes whether living on or off campus.
As for classes, school officials plan for a blend of online and in-person classes, UCF will switch back to exclusively remote instruction following the Thanksgiving holiday to minimize risk associated with a potential virus resurgence. Final exams and assessments will be administered remotely. To accommodate physical distancing, classroom capacities are expected to decrease substantially, averaging 33 to 50 percent of regular capacity, depending on the room.
5. The next SpaceX Falcon 9 launch is set for Thursday at 4:39 p.m. – if it can dodge the weather.
It was set to go up Tuesday, but weather forced a delay. But a midday launch brings in the possibility of storms and more bad weather, so the 45th Space Wing weather squadron predicts a 40 percent chance of “go for launch” weather. Primary concerns are large clouds and the possibility of lightning. If it’s scrubbed, SpaceX would push the launch to Friday, when the weather team predicts “marginally better weather”.
The launch would be the 10th one to send 60 Starlink satellites into orbit, part of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s mission into the broadband internet business. Two BlackSky Earth observation satellites are also going along for the ride on the Falcon 9 as part of the SpaceX rideshare program, which offers a lower cost option for aerospace companies to reach orbit.
And now for the weather. Expect another hot afternoon, with the high temperature reaching as high as 94 with the heat index approaching 100. There’s a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms in the late afternoon to early evening. Tonight it will be partly cloudy and still warm, with a low of 76.