Facing The Fall: School reopening plans come into focus, but a lot is still unsettled

St. John's County Schools may push back school start date

Three of the biggest school districts in Northeast Florida on Tuesday got closer to finalizing school reopening plans.

In a revised reopening plan, Duval County Public Schools said its youngest students will have a choice about whether they want to wear a face shield or a face shield and a mask. But that was just one of the major changes revealed by the district on Tuesday.

In St. Johns County, the district released some of the new protective measures that will be put in place when school starts and school board members asked for the current Aug. 10 start date to be pushed back at least two weeks.

The Clay County School Board met Tuesday afternoon to talk about reopening schools. They were greeted by dozens of people who showed up, asking the school district to mandate face masks. The board was debating pushing the school start date back and a mask mandate, but at the time this newsletter was published, no decision has been made. (Go here for the latest update)

Read about the latest education developments below:

Preview of Duval County student wearing face shied and Plexiglas partisans. (DCPS photo)

Duval County schools back-to-school plan a ‘fluid’ situation

DCPS Superintendent said the district plans to defy a state order to reopen campuses five days a week due to the Republican National Convention and rising cases of the novel coronavirus in Jacksonville. Both middle school and high school grade levels will begin on a hybrid schedule. That could change after Labor Day. The district also said K-2 students will have a choice about whether they want to wear a face shield or a face shield and a mask.

Parents, teachers join 'motor march' a Duval County schools HQ

Parents, teachers join ‘motor march’ to Duval County Public Schools headquarters

As the School Board gathered to discuss its back-to-school plans, parents, teachers and members of the activist groups held a motorcade march to the Duval County Public Schools headquarters. They honked, displayed messages on their vehicles and spoke up.

St. Johns County School Board asks district to push back school start date 2 weeks

St. Johns County School Board asks district to push back school start date 2 weeks

The majority of St. Johns County School Board members asked the district to push back the school start date at least two weeks during a regular school board meeting but didn’t vote on the change because it wasn’t on the agenda. Right now, students are scheduled to return to schools on Aug. 10 and parents have until Friday to make a decision if they want to send students back to school or not. The district late Tuesday also revealed some of the safety measures it plans to have in place.

St. Johns County science teacher Andrea Clark (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

St. Johns County teacher writes will as she prepares to go back into classroom

During the public comment section of the St. Johns County School Board meeting, a district teacher shared that she has created a will for her children as she prepares to go back into the classroom. Some said the teacher was being an alarmist, others agreed what the school board decides could be a matter of life or death.

No temperature checks, optional masks if students want to return to school in Bradford County

For the first time, Bradford County parents and students are seeing and learning on Tuesday about three proposed learning options for the 2020-2021 school year. Not all parents are thrilled with the options.

Jacksonville police looking to hire 31 school crossing guards

As the Duval County School District continued to hash out a back-to-school plan, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that it needs to hire crossing guards.

And in national education news:

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students

Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities, the Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Trump team eyes school funds boost in next virus aid bill

President Donald Trump’s push to reopen schools is being complicated by a split within his ranks over how to do it, with some advisers advocating for a massive federal expenditure to make campuses safe as Congress compiles the next COVID-19 relief bill.

What are your back-to-school questions?

What are your burning questions as students prepare to return to school in August? Follow this link to submit a question and the News4Jax Education Team will work to get the answer.

Meet the team

The News4Jax Education Team is led by Reporter Joe McLean (jmclean@wjxt.com) who has nearly 10 years of experience as an investigative journalist covering everything from education to politics in Missouri.

Joining him is Digital Reporter Travis Gibson (tgibson@wjxt.com), a Jacksonville native and former high school sports reporter who has written about race issues and allegations of abuse on university and high school campuses across the country.

The goal is to have our reporters bring your questions and concerns to education leaders and hold them accountable. You’ll see their work online and on TV starting this week and throughout the school year.

Facing the Fall is our newsletter covering Jacksonville’s return to school. Interested? You’re already signed up. Our team of reporters will send updates to keep you informed. Not interested? Unsubscribe here.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.