Clay County school district releases draft plan for reopening schools

Clay County School Board discusses school reopening plan.
Clay County School Board discusses school reopening plan. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County District Schools Superintendent David Broskie on Thursday night presented a draft plan to the school board for reopening schools in the district in August.

The plan showed that the district is preparing for three scenarios based on how widespread the novel coronavirus is when the 2020-2021 school year begins on Aug. 11.

“One thing that has to happen is the district has to be agile enough to switch to a distance learning environment in a very quick fashion,” Broskie said.

With little to no cases, under the draft plan, Clay County students will return to campus classrooms as they normally would with some new health and safety protocols in place.

If there is a moderate spread of COVID-19, elementary students will attend schools but will be broken up into groups to limit interactions between staff and students. Under the draft plan, high school and middle school students will go on a hybrid schedule with some classroom learning and some distance learning.

Clay County Reopen Draft Plan (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“I think everyone needs to realize that school is going to look different,” Broskie said. “No matter how you slice it whether you’re talking about keeping students in a cohort group, whether you’re talking about lunch being different in the sense that not all students will go to the cafeteria. I can easily see in some of the schools that I went to some students being in the cafeteria, some students being in the gymnasium.”

If there is substantial community spread, school sites will be closed and students will go to distance learning.

It is recommended that parents take the temperatures of students, under the draft plan, and anyone with a fever of 100-degrees or higher is asked not to go to school. At least one board member pushed back against that part of the plan and asked the district to explore temperature checks by school officials or teachers.

Masks will be recommended for students riding the bus, but not required, Broskie said. It’s likely that arrival and dismissal times may vary depending on grade level, according to the plan.

The district is also looking at serving meals in various locations on campus as well as spacing desks further apart and having them face the same direction.

The district said it has already purchased electrostatic cleaners for each school, hand sanitizer for every classroom and school bus, and 6,000 disposable masks. Over 100,000 masks and 50,000 face shields will also be given to the district by Emergency Management and FEMA.

Broskie said the district will work to finalize its plan in the coming weeks and the school board will hold a workshop at 3:30 p.m. on July 14 to discuss the plan further.

A survey will also be sent to parents to ask if they intend to send their children to campus or if they prefer Clay Virtual Academy.

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