SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It has been five weeks since Manatee County Schools re-opened. While students, parents and teachers have been adjusting well to the “new normal”, education leaders want to make sure safety continues to be the number one goal. Plus, the school district has just added another way to continue their transparency with parents about COVID-19.
“When you look at a district of nearly 50,000 students, and we have about 8,000 employees, we have some pretty low numbers. That means that all the efforts that the community has been following in regards to maintaining social distances, and of course, all of our very diligent protocols in the school district, are working,” explained Dr. Scott Hopes, a Manatee County School Board Member.
The Manatee County School District has added a new survey on their website under the “Hot Topics” section. This is a questionnaire for parents to give school officials an idea of how this new learning experience has been so far, and what they hope will be the guidelines for the upcoming second quarter.
“The survey was great. It was confirmation for me that the district is doing everything they possibly can to assure parents that they are taking the precautions and keeping the concerns of parents and the safety of the children, top of mind,” said Mimi Scheffer, a parent in Manatee County.
Students in Manatee County are either full-time in school, full-time distance learning or a combination of the two with a hybrid schedule. However, as part of the school district’s re-opening plan, families have the option of switching their school choice after this first quarter which ends on October 9th. Many parents were using this time to see how things went with coronavirus on campus.
“We fully expected there to be outbreaks in the schools. We’ve been pleasantly surprise that the masking, social distancing and cleaning efforts at the schools in our districts have prevented them from having widespread outbreaks. In fact, we’re now comfortable sending them back,” Scheffer explained.
Leaders at Manatee County Schools are expecting many parents to have the same decision as Mimi Scheffer – where students will be switching to be back in the classroom.
“We still have to be diligent of our social distancing and the like, so as we get those responses back, the superintendent and her staff will have to go through those numbers and see how we can accommodate that. What we are doing right now is working, so we need to maintain those lower class sizes and the social distancing measures with those one direction pathways,” Dr. Hopes tells us.
Families have until September 27th to complete this survey.