Florida’s Education Commissioner visited Dixie County High School on Thursday

Students in much of North-Central Florida are wrapping up their first week of classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Education Commissioner is checking in to find out how the start of school is going, and on Thursday, he stopped in Dixie County.
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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CROSS CITY, Fla. (WCJB) -Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is visiting schools across the state, and on Thursday, he stopped by Dixie County High School.

“The superintendent and the principal here have done a wonderful job, and it is reflective in how many people they have coming back,” said Corcoran. “When you have 90% of your students and 100% of your teachers coming back, those are people who have recognized that the safety precautions are going to be in place.”

Dixie County High School is taking several safety precautions to protect the students, teachers, and staff at Dixie County High School.

“First thing I did was make sure we got all of the tables out of the classrooms,” said Dixie County High School principal Paul Bennett. “We put desks in the classrooms. We made sure that they are as far apart as they can get. We are rerouting students, so they walk outside, walk around, so they are not bumping into each other in the halls.”

“If you go into the classrooms, you see that the desks are socially distanced,” added Corcoran. “You see that the teachers are out in the hallways monitoring kids as they go up and down the hallways. They are doing all of the necessary precautions you would want.

“President [Donald] Trump has done a great job sending down funding for the districts, so they can have the PPE, and they can have the cleaning materials for the schools to maintain that level of safety.”

Corcoran has seen the excitement surrounding the return to school.

“If you talk to these kids, I mean we are seeing it up, and down the state, they’re eager to get back,” he said. “They’re super happy, they’re to be back in the classrooms, so are the teachers.”

Bennett said that students and staff are wearing masks.

"Every one of our staff are wearing masks, and that's their choice, we're not making them do that. I would say most of the student population is s well," said Bennett.

However, that wasn't always the case while our camera was there. One teacher was seen holding a mask in her hand.

Meanwhile, Corcoran said it is important to remember, “we’re going to have cases that is a completely normal thing, but we got to recognize when you have a case in a child again it is extremely low risk, it is less than influenza. Even for severe symptoms.”

He said if people believe they may be sick, stay home. Corcoran said one thing people should remember is not to panic and take the necessary steps to ensure the virus is contained.

To find out more about reopening plans for all North-Central Florida school districts, click on the links below.

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