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Pinellas County School Board votes to delay first day of school amid coronavirus concerns

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Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 23:21:37-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — School board members in Pinellas County voted Tuesday to delay the first day of school until Monday, August 24.

The district says the goal of the delay would be to give teachers and other staff additional time to plan for the school year.

Teachers would be able to create a master schedule based on the learning options selected by families.

It would also give staff time to get training and prepare for students based on the type of instruction they will be providing.

On Tuesday, a few dozen teachers and parents rallied outside of the Pinellas County School District headquarters in Largo, demanding all teaching move to online-only for the school year's first quarter.

"What concerns me the most is the fact that we’re going to be on top of each other," said Deborah Pettingill, a teacher at Largo High School.

The history teacher warns students and staff returning to the classroom too soon is a serious health risk.

"If we don’t change things, if we don’t address this in a different way, we are going to be in the history books and we’re going to be in the history books in the way we don’t want to be remembered," said Pettingill.

According to the press release, this delay would impact all three proposed learning options.

As of this week, about 24% of Pinellas students have signed up to return to their physical school.

According to the district, 36% of students are opting for MyPCS Online or Pinellas Virtual School.

About 40,000 students in Pinellas County have yet to sign up for one of three options.