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NCFL school districts discuss plans to re-open

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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MARION CO., Fla. (WCJB) - Despite COVID-19 concerns, a new executive order from the Florida Department of Education says that schools will re-open next month.

The order states that schools would need to be open at least five days a week and provide all services required by law. All while keeping in mind guidelines from the health department and subsequent executive orders. Read the full executive order here.

This has school administrators across North Central Florida searching for the best options to safely do so.

The Marion County School Board had a lot to think about in terms of re-opening schools at it’s workshop Tuesday. One of the items on the day’s agenda was to talk about the district’s ‘Re-open Schools Task Force’.

The Marion County School board has created a Re-open Schools Task Force to safely open schools for students and staff.
The Marion County School board has created a Re-open Schools Task Force to safely open schools for students and staff.(WCJB)

Board members created a task force that will be divided into four subcommittees focusing on instructional delivery, scheduling, health and safety and if school is interrupted again due to an emergency situation.

During the task force presentation, Scheduling Committee Chair Ben Whitehouse said the re-opening plan works nicely with the states new order, “That emergency order really aligns nicely with what we are proposing here in our scheduling option.”

Whitehouse also spoke about the two main options that students and parents would have going into the new year. They would pick either a traditional route or a virtual one. As part of the re-opening plan, the district would launch ‘MCPS Online', an upgraded distance learning system. To learn more about MCPS’s re-opening plan, click here.

Concerned teachers and parents also attended the MCPS meeting saying they fear for their loved ones.
Concerned teachers and parents also attended the MCPS meeting saying they fear for their loved ones.(WCJB)

Concerned teachers and parents also attended the meeting saying they fear for their loved ones.

“My husband is diabetic, he is almost 66 years old, he has a history of high blood pressure and heart problems, he’s considered high risk. We know from my years of teaching that if there’s a virus going around at school, I don’t necessarily get sick from it but I bring it home and he does,” Dunnellon Middle School Teacher Gena Welch-Booher said.

Outside of Marion County, Alachua County Public Schools has discussions in the works to help students get back to school as well.

“What we do know is that we are going to have to submit a plan for the state to approve. They haven’t told us exactly when that plan has to be submitted but they are going to be providing us with more guidance apparently later on this afternoon,” ACPS Public Information Director Jackie Johnson said.

Alachua county public schools has discussions in the works to help students get back to school. A meeting is scheduled for July 8, 2020 to discuss the details of their re-opening plan.
Alachua county public schools has discussions in the works to help students get back to school. A meeting is scheduled for July 8, 2020 to discuss the details of their re-opening plan.(WCJB)

After three hours of discussions and public comment, the Marion County School Board approved the plan that was presented to them Tuesday.

The School board of Alachua County workshop will be held July 8 at 2 p.m. to discuss the details of their re-opening plan. To keep up to date with ACPS’s decision, click here.

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