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By Steve Steiner
Executive Editor 

School to Start in August with Options

 

Last updated 7/1/2020 at 9:07am

The 2020-21 school year will begin in August. Options will be a choice of on-campus, online, or a combination of both.

These are the results of a survey taken by a task force created by Polk County Public Schools for the purpose of planning for school to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic held a survey to determine what direction to take.

The survey focused on potential safety measures being used in response to COVID-19 for the 2020-21 school year. More than 37,000 responses were provided by PCPS parents, employees and community members from May 29 through June 12. The PCPS survey was modeled after similar surveys conducted by other school districts, and the Florida Department of Education.

In addition, PCPS received more than 8,600 comments through the survey, with prevalent topics including:

– How the school district should address student usage of masks

– Opening schools for the fall semester

– Continuation of distance learning

– Various impacts to PCPS students and employees

– Sanitizing of school buildings

– Suggestions for additional safety measures

The responses and feedback provided through the survey were reviewed by the local task force, which included the chair of the Polk County School Board; district administrators and school principals; leadership from the unions representing PCPS educators, bus drivers, custodians and other employees; PCPS teachers; the director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County; and pediatricians from Lakeland Regional Health and Central Florida Health Care, Inc.

In addition to the survey responses, the task force reviewed guidance from Gov. Ron DeSantis' office and the Florida Department of Education to plan for the 2020-21 school year.

Students return to campus and interact in person with teachers and classmates.

The goal will be to return to as much of a traditional classroom experience as possible. However, our task force is developing various health and safety protocols, so stated the PCPS on its website.

Some precautions may include:

– Symptom screenings for all students and staff members

– Frequent and thorough cleaning of campuses

– Hand sanitizer dispensers available throughout the campus

– Signage about good hygiene habits to prevent the spread of illness, including handwashing.

Families who do not wish for their students to return to campus can choose to have their students enroll into Polk Virtual School.

Polk Virtual School is a way for students to take classes online and fulfill their K-12 educational requirements.

These online lessons are taught by PCPS teachers who will provide individualized instruction and encouragement.

For more information about Polk Virtual School, visit: Polk Virtual School – Where Learning Clicks.

Additional information is available at polkschoolsfl.com/reopening.

 

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