HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Students who opted for in-person classes with Hillsborough County schools will return to the classroom with several new safety and cleaning procedures in place to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.
This comes following a decision by board members at an emergency meeting on Friday that schools should reopen in-person on Monday, August 31. This impacts children whose parents chose that learning option.
Parents are now being asked to take their child's temperature before they leave the house. It needs to be lower than 100.4 degrees to meet the school district's criteria for a fever. Families are also being asked to check for coughing or shortness of breath, which are two known symptoms of COVID-19.
If a child has a fever, a cough, or shortness of breath, they are asked not to come to in-person classes. They are also being asked to stay home if they have been directly exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Students and staff members are required to wear masks inside school buildings with the exemption of eating and drinking. The only exception for a student not wearing a face-covering is if the family provides the school district with a copy of its official medical exemption form, signed by a licensed medical professional.
Additionally, families need to be aware of new drop-off and pick-up procedures for students at the school buildings.
When dropping off a child, parents are being asked to please take them directly to the designated drop-off area. Due to new safety guidelines, parents are not able to walk children directly to their classrooms.
If your child is walking or riding a bike to school, please have them enter the building with their face covering on and in their designated spot. Staff will be available to help students.
Water fountains will be shut off to help stop the spread of germs. Therefore, students are being asked to bring an individual water bottle that comes with them to school. Water bottles will also be provided at school, according to the district.
There are also a series of new school bus safety guidelines, including mandatory face coverings for students and drivers.
Drivers will also be responsible for cleaning the high-touch surface areas of the bus in between runs, wearing personal protective equipment, according to the school district.
There are several numbers parents and families can call with questions in the first few weeks.