FLDOE approves Manatee, Sarasota Schools’ re-opening plan

FLDOE approves reopening plans for schools on the Suncoast

(WWSB) - The Florida Department of Education has approved both Manatee County and Sarasota County Schools’ re-opening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

K-12 Chancellor of Public Schools Jacob Oliva messaged school officials in Manatee on Tuesday night.

“I am pleased to report that the plan you submitted provides each of the required assurances,” Oliva wrote in the email. “As such, your reopening plan is approved, effective immediately.”

Superintendent Saunders released a statement on the approval.

“We have been working hard for months to provide a plan to our students, parents and employees that would not only meet the state’s requirements, but also provide options that address the different needs expressed by all of our stakeholders,” Saunders said. “I want to thank all of the parents, employees and citizens who sent more than 26,000 responses during our reopening plans survey, and all of our principals, teachers and support staff for their hard work in making these plans possible.”

Sarasota County Schools posted a few hours later that its re-opening plan had also been approved.

Manatee County parents have a choice between on campus learning five days a week, e-learning five days a week or a hybrid option where students would go to school two days a week and do e-learning three days a week.

Sarasota County parents have a choice between in person instruction, remote learning, or virtual school.

On Wednesday in Pinellas County, Governor DeSantis said parents should have the option to choose what’s best for their family.

"We're not going to force any parent to put their child in, in-person instruction if they don't feel like that's the right thing to do. We're having commissioner and the school districts working together to provide innovative instruction arrangements so students learning remotely have the best possible opportunity to succeed.," said Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday afternoon.

"What is a few months to do remote learning and in the number of years that hopefully these students will have in their lives," Sarasota high school teacher, Christy Karwatt.

Karwatt is concerned about the high school setting and how social distancing will even be enforced. She says it’s not worth the risk going back to in-person instruction.

“And I think that we are being put in a tremendous risk. And I’m not really sure the true reasons behind that risk. I’ve talked to school board members, I’ve email, as have my colleagues and they keep saying we don’t have a choice, we don’t have a choice, But there’s always a choice,” said Karwatt.

Schools in Sarasota County will start on August 31 and schools in Manatee County are scheduled to start on August 17.

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