What to expect for back-to-school in Sarasota County this year

What to expect for back-to-school in Sarasota County this year
The School District says flexibility will be key this school year. Things will change on a weekly basis, but they say parents will always be made aware of any new protocols or regulations. Students also have the choice of switching their school option after each quarter. (Source: WWSB)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Some students in Sarasota County will be back in the classroom Monday morning, but things will look different this school year because of COVID-19. For starters, everyone on Sarasota school campuses will be required to wear a mask. There will also be strict social distancing guidelines.

“There’s a lot of challenges this year. One of them is definitely the concurrent teaching in our county. We are about 50%. I’ll have 50% of my students be in the classroom, but the other half will be tuning in from home in a video conferencing way,” Jenna Molinaro, a teacher at Pine View School, explained.

This is how most of Sarasota County schools will be operating at the start of this school year. For those that will be walking the hallways once again, the district released a video to show what it would look like.

“We’re also setting up different safety protocols like having a trifold plastic shield on each desk, and that will be cleaned every period as students are leaving class. There’s all these kinds of things that we are putting in place that are certainly different from every year,” Pamela Novak, an 8th grade teacher, said.

However, not all parents are comfortable with sending their kids back to a classroom setting just yet.

“I don’t want my kids going back to school. We can control coming home and washing our hands and taking our stuff off at the door, but they can’t,” Marie Mckilligin, a mother of four students in North Port, tells ABC7.

Those kids are part of the other 50% of students that will be doing concurrent learning – meaning they will be going along with the lessons and their classmates, but virtually. Plus, other activities, like lunch, will also have a completely different set up starting Monday.

“Not only are we providing meals for our students on campus, but we are providing meals for our remote learners. Those families will be ordering those meals the Thursday before, and picking up their orders on either Monday or Tuesday at their school locations. They will get a week’s worth of food, so five breakfasts and five lunches,” said Sarah Dane, the Director for Food Nutrition Services of Sarasota County Schools.

The School District says flexibility will be key this school year. Things will change on a weekly basis, but they say parents will always be made aware of any new protocols or regulations. Students also have the choice of switching their school option after each quarter.

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