SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Last week, Governor DeSantis announced that all K-12 schools can reopen at full capacity in August. However, local school districts can tweak his proposed plan to best meet the needs of their communities.
On Tuesday, the Sarasota County School Board met to discuss the options. No official plans were decided, but instead, leaders focused on how students can be back on campus at full capacity and still be safe.
As of right now, the previous plan of possibly keeping older students in remote learning at home so that younger students could be spread throughout the district’s schools has been eliminated.
The new plan would allow for all students to return to school, but there would have to be strict protocols put in place.
“In order to be able to maximum distancing, we are going to have to go back to the old school model of all kids facing in the same direction, all of their desks facing towards the teacher and as far apart as we can physically get them,” said Acting Superintendent, Mitsi Corcoran.
They would also be adjusting bell schedules, making all school staff wear masks, sanitization stations throughout the campus and school buses, and using cafeterias and gyms as classrooms.
“For the PPE perspective, we will be providing hand sanitizer. Our bus drivers would have masks available for students who forgot their masks that morning on the way to the bus. We can give them one, and we will also have them available at all of our schools,” explained Corcoran.
Plus, there will also be a plan for those parents who do not feel comfortable sending their kids back to school. This will be school specific and determined after the district receives all responses from parents in the survey they will be sending out next week.
Those who wish to stay home, will most likely be doing remote-learning, which is different than the distance learning all schools did these last few months.
“Virtual learning is pretty self-driven. You are given a set of curriculum from Florida Virtual School, and you get a check in once a month,” explained leaders, “It’s not a daily check-in like we were doing with the ICan program with our teachers, so you have to be quite self-motivated to be successful in a virtual school program.”
However, this can all change if there are enough students who would stay home in each school. That’s why nothing will be finalized until after those survey results.
All parents will be receiving it on June 26th, and then the school district will meet on July 14th to come up with the final plans.