Sarasota County School Board votes to delay start of school year

Sarasota County School Board votes to delay start of school year
Sarasota Schools want to re-open on August 31st. (Source: wwsb)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - UPDATE: The Sarasota County School board members have moved forward with plans to start brick and mortar and remote learning on August 31 pending final approval from the state Department of Education.

Plans for re-opening schools again in Sarasota County were voted on Tuesday afternoon. The plan will now be sent to the state for final approval.

"The weight is so heavy on principals and us and you. How do we keep not only our kids but our teachers and our staff and our bus safe and our cafeteria workers safe??

Some were able to voice their concerns before the board made their decision.

“Screw the state. Screw the commissioner of education and refuse to open up when it’s dangerous. You know we like to talk about courage when we talk about our veterans. We like talk about doing the right thing when we talk about ethics...but now its the time you have to do the right thing. IGNORE THEM. Don’t open up our schools,” said a concerned community member.

The board also approved the mandatory use of face masks and shields.

“We have process that we’ve laid out. We’re going to be discussing it with principals tomorrow. We’re going to talk about the process were going to give them the tools starting tomorrow. So as things are happening on campus now.. even though we don’t have a lot of people on campus. If we have an issue we’ll start to use the tools. We’ll identify.. cause suzi cant do this on our own. We’ll identify additional teams. Somebody that can be a team lead. Somebody from HR,” school district leaders.

You can watch the second half of the school board meeting where re-opening was discussed through this link.

On Monday, a forty page revised draft plan was released by the Sarasota County School District.

The plan showcases 11 sections the district aims to address.

  • public health and safety measures
  • screening and personal preventative measures
  • financial impact tracking
  • district communication plans
  • monitoring plans for systemic and building level practices
  • what to do if someone becomes ill
  • planning for a resurgence or an intermittent shutdown
  • school site plans
  • mental health support
  • plans for employees
  • remote learning option for the continuity of education

The plan also discusses about bringing back face-to-face school days with “responsible safety measures.”

Under the personal preventative and screening protocols section of the draft plan document the district says the students will have to follow the school board and CDC’s guidance on face coverings.

The document shows temperatures wont be taken unless symptoms are evident. “Designated staff may check temperatures in classrooms when students/staff are symptomatic.”

Remote learning is also drafted out extensively in the district’s plan. Some of the expectations of remote learning is that students will interact for a minimum of five hours daily. If your student is in a secondary level the expectation is that they engage for 45 minutes per class.

Working session from Tuesday morning can be watched here: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3SJILzR2F8

At 3 p.m. today during the Board meeting, members will discuss and take action on re-opening plans.

If you’d like the board to hear from you, you can submit a public comment in person at the 3 p.m. meeting or via email before 2 p.m. PublicComment@sarasotacountyschools.net.

Past story on state emergency order to re-open public school in August: https://www.mysuncoast.com/2020/07/07/emergency-order-issued-reopen-all-florida-public-schools-august/

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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