“It’s a better education for everybody”: Alachua County student ready for school following delayed Aug. 31 start date

The school district office saw at least 100 people ready to advocate for safe reopening ahead of a special school board meeting
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Whether in Digital Academy or in Brick & Mortar, Alachua County School board members set the first day of school to Aug. 31 in a 3 to 2 vote.

One parent said, “I agree because I think parents have to have those options.”

Despite the date change, in-person, Alachua Digital Academy and Alachua E-school are options still on the table.

Alachua County parent Carressa Hutchinson is considering digital distance for her son but still wants teachers to be prepared.

“So I think before we send our kids back into the school, teachers need to not only be properly trained on the system on canvas that they’ll be using. But also be trained on how to properly clean and work with the staff and janitorial staff on cleaning.”

Students in Alachua County will be in the classroom but not until August 31. One ten-year-old said it’s time for her to get back to class.

“It’s a better education for everybody.”

Talbot Elementary student Natalie Jones went to the meeting with her sisters and mom to advocate for reopening with safety protocols.

“Well it was pretty hard for everyone because we weren’t used to doing this,” said Jones. “The teachers had never done this before and it just wasn’t really good. Like you didn’t get any actual teaching. All you got was a video to watch, a quiz then your grade for that quiz.”

School pre-planning is moved to the week of August 24th. A motion to pay teachers for two days of required training the week of August 17th. “That should’ve been brought up in my opinion when we voted on the plan but this was just oh we’ve got five days so let’s add another five days of salary at a few million dollars and that doesn’t sit right with me,”' said board member Robert Hyatt.

At about $460,000 per day for instructional staff to train, the motion to require training during the extra week failed to pass.

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