NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Manatee County School District looking for feedback on reopening schools this fall

School leaders considering three options
Posted at 5:30 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 05:56:52-04

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Manatee County School District is still looking to families for feedback on how they can safely reopen school buildings this fall.

Thousands of people have already responded to the district's reopening survey and are voicing their concerns about childcare options, as well as the health and safety of students on campus.

The Manatee County School Board is considering three options for reopening in the upcoming school year as the state of Florida monitors the spread of COVID-19.

  • BACK-TO-SCHOOL PLAN A: All students return to on-campus learning following traditional schedules.
  • BACK-TO-SCHOOL PLAN B: A blended schedule integrating on-campus learning with eLearning into one cohesive experience.

It would most likely mean 50% of students going to school on Monday and Wednesday and 50% of students going on Tuesday and Thursday.

The groups would alternate going to school on Friday, according to the district.

  • BACK-TO-SCHOOL PLAN C: All students continue eLearning.

District leaders say that regardless of what plan is eventually chosen, students and parents will have the option to continue full-time eLearning through Schoology at their individual schools if that is their preference.

So far, Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said the district has received more than 7,400 written responses to the reopening survey.

Of those, about 1,800 respondents have said they would like to continue eLearning full time for the next school year, according to the superintendent.

However, many families, especially with younger children, have been voicing their concerns to the school board about childcare issues if schools are not able to reopen.

"I do think the overall expectation is we need to have our students back in the building next year in some capacity," Saunders said.

But as families continue to respond to the survey, many are also bringing up worries they have for the health and safety of students and staff on campus.

"We need to do our very best with making sure that not only our students are safe, but our teachers and employees are safe," Saunders said to school board members.

The Manatee County Schools Reopening Survey will be available until June 14.

The school board will be meeting to discuss the district's reopening plan at a workshop on June 25. School board members are still assessing how and when they can reopen buildings for public meetings.