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Pasco County Schools announce 3 options for reopening schools in August

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Posted at 5:09 AM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 07:33:58-04

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The Pasco County School District announced the options for reopening campuses in the new year. The plan, called ReOpening Pasco Schools, offers three options.

Parents must select an option and fill out this parent survey by July 8. This deadline was extended from July 1.

They are:

  • Traditional – A return to campus and classroom with the standard school schedule and bell times. This option includes a heavy emphasis on health and safety precautions. Students will practice safe social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Schools will use signage and consistent communication to discourage the gathering of large groups of students. Students will be expected to wear masks or cloth face coverings on the school bus, but masks will not be required in classrooms.
  • mySchool Online – Virtual learning with a connection to the student’s enrolled school. This option requires that students follow the standard school schedule and bell times. It features lessons and virtual interaction with teachers during each class period – all conducted online.
  • Virtual School – Online learning through Pasco’s nationally recognized Pasco eSchool. This model offers flexible scheduling and is taught by Pasco County teachers. Students work at their own pace can do school work during non-traditional hours.

“Parents sent us a message loud and clear: they wanted options,” Superintendent Kurt Browning said. “Many are eager to have their student return to school and see their teachers and classmates. But many aren’t ready for that yet. There’s an option here for everyone.”

The next step is that families will be asked to choose an option for their children by July 8.

"We need our parents to have told us what they're going to be doing with their children. If we don't hear from them, we can't follow up with them after trying, they will default to traditional schools," said Browning.

Over the past several weeks, Pasco County School leaders said they’ve sought input from parents, students, and staff about reopening in the fall, and they’ve worked to incorporate that into their plan.

The school system hosted focus groups, conducted surveys and got thousands of responses.

Browning said the main concerns he heard included many parents and staff wanting to come back to a traditional school setting, a safe and healthy learning environment, and different options because not everyone feels comfortable returning.

"If parents want their kids wearing masks in the classes that is entirely up to the parents...have the kids wear the masks," said Browning.

Parents and staff are also asking for more online learning opportunities for teachers to interact directly with their students, clear rules and procedures for when a child becomes sick, more mental health resources, and extracurricular activities.

Browning said the district formed several workgroups to take all of these details into consideration to create a successful plan.

Leaders have added multiple priorities that have guided their decision making.

The district says it will remain focused on providing an education amid the pandemic.

The plan will ensure classrooms are regularly cleaned and that there will be a plan in place to replenish soap and cleaning supplies.

Browning wants this plan for reopening to be flexible to meet varying needs while being consistent for all grade levels.

Pasco County schools are set to open August 10.