PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — School districts have learned a lot from teaching in a pandemic, and in Pinellas County, leaders are incorporating a few of those aspects into this upcoming school year.
Here’s some of what’s new:
- Students in grades three through 10 will be provided Dell laptops to be used both in school and at home.
- The use of the Canvas Learning Management system will continue. Leaders say it was vital for at-home learning last year. Now moving forward, teachers can integrate all the digital instructional resources currently in use. Teachers will also be able to organize course content, assignments, and assessments.
- 24/7 learning will be enhanced with students having access to reliable technology with the new laptops, and easy access to digital instruction resources at home.
- For families without adequate internet services, WiFi hotspots are available for checkout.
- For the 2021-2022 school year, the district will offer all meals at no charge to students due to program waivers from USDA.
- At elementary schools, leaders are adding 40 VPK classrooms.
- The district will provide free all-day VPK at 25 elementary sites.
- Students can expect to see an array of new and expanded courses.
- New district-wide safety and security programs.
This school year there will also be an increased focus on mental health. Some new initiatives include increasing the number of staff members so students have better access to mental health professionals, a new mental health triage team to provide support specifically related to post COVID-19 transitional concerns, and mental health awareness training for students and adults.
As students and teachers return to campus, leaders say their COVID team will continue to work with the Department of Health to monitor positive cases and any necessary quarantines.
School officials have several special projects planned using federal pandemic relief funds, those include: eliminating the impact of COVID-19 in schools, enhancing academic support for student acceleration and academic growth, and summer recovery programs to address learning gaps.
Check back for updates as we get more information about school plans and changes for the upcoming school year.