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Tampa Bay area school districts plan for students to return in the fall

Schools will follow state and CDC guidelines
Posted at 8:37 PM, Jun 11, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a plan on Thursday to reopen schools in the fall at full capacity.

"Hillsborough County Public Schools stands ready to welcome our learners back to school in the fall with open arms in a safe and deliberate manner. Our leadership has already been diligently working on our reopening plans, taking into account input from families and staff to ensure everyone returns to an environment where safety is at the forefront," said Superintendent Addision Davis in a statement to ABC Action News.

Garrett Ralston has a daughter who attends school in Hillsborough County. He supports the idea to reopen schools.

"I think kids learn best in a school environment. Parents have done their best to teach them things over the last couple of months as a Band-Aid to keep things together," said Ralston.

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Governor DeSantis said schools would reopen at full capacity for students in August. Each school district would follow state guidelines from the Florida Department of Education.

K-12 schools would reopen in a "Dimmer Switch Approach."

According to the Florida Department of Education, the reopening of schools would occur in 3 steps.

  • In June, K-12 campuses would open for youth activities and summer camps
  • In July, campuses expand capacities further and allow for summer recovery instruction
  • By August, campuses will open up at full capacity for the traditional start of the academic year

School districts will follow guidelines like practicing social distancing when feasible, clean and disinfect high-touch, high-traffic surface areas and consult with the county health department.

The health department has procedures for workforce tracing following a positive COVID-19 test by an employee, student or those who have come into contact with an individual testing positive for COVID-19.

Below are additional details of the state's plan to reopen schools:

The Sarasota County School District said it is actively gathering feedback from teachers, staff, school leaders, parents, students and community members before settling on a final plan.

The district hopes to have a plan set by mid-July to give the community time to plan. This will, of course, depend on continuing guidance from the Governor, Commissioner or Education and state and local health officials.

The Polk County School District released the following statement:

"The governor has just released guidance on reopening schools in the fall. PCPS is reviewing the information we've received from Tallahassee and will announce details for how school will resume locally as soon as possible. We continue to monitor the virus's spread in Polk County, and we've formed a task force that includes district leaders, local healthcare experts, and community members to guide us as we look ahead to next school year."

Pasco County School Superintendent Kurt Browning released a video below regarding the district's plans.