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Marion County School Board members discuss a positive first day of classes with few improvements to address

68% percent of students in Marion County returned to brick & mortar with masks and social distancing.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 11:36 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) -

Most students in North Central Florida have already hit the books as they returned back to the classroom. In Marion County, nearly 70% of students in public schools returned to brick & mortar with masks on, ready to learn.

Teachers parents and students alike were praised in a school board meeting for playing their part in keeping one another safe.

68% of students in Marion County were back in the building for their first day of school Monday. The remainder went virtual.

That number could increase as Superintendent Dr. Diane Gullett mentioned, “many of our parents want to switch to come back to our buildings.”

Dr. Gullett was appointed as superintendent on July 1 and said the first day was a success as less than one half of 1% of students were sent home with COVID-19 related symptoms. "Students with masks we had students from all over the district that came prepared thanks to our parents and to our team for preparing them for coming with masks. Most of them were very colorful, a lot of them matching their backpacks."

Although good remarks about transportation, food services and mask-wearing came with a few shortcomings that board members want to be addressed.

Chairmen Eric Cummings said, “we’re gonna have to stick with it until we get out this pandemic.”

Areas of improvement for the district include working out internet bandwidth issues, tweaking Microsoft teams and adjusting in-person class sizes.

Cummings turned to the bright side and said, "I think this pandemic and us going to the digital part of school, education is forcing us to be where we need to be."

He mentioned other counties have the same issues with technology and looks forward to digital learning improving in the future. "Other countries are probably already doing those things so we're gonna be better off. I expect us to be better off coming out of this pandemic."

In an effort to remain diligent on combating coronavirus in brick and mortar schools, Superintendent Gullett plans to provide weekly updates, every Friday, on student and staff cases of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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