VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – As Central Florida school districts craft reopening plans for the upcoming school year Brevard County and Volusia County school board members are making some final touches.
Deadlines are looming for schools to invite students back into classrooms. Volusia County school board member Ruben Colon said feedback from parents and guardians about how they want their students to learn is critical.
“So tomorrow at noon [July 30] is the deadline for parents to let us know what they plan to do with their child next year,” Colon said.
Finalizing plans coupled with fluctuating health guidelines has forced school board members to evaluate their health and safety protocols ahead of the first day of school.
“We want to make sure we follow the CDC guidelines which are basically anytime social distancing cannot be accomplished, students will be wearing a mask,” Colon said.
District leaders in Brevard county are faced with a similar scenario. Boardmember Tina Descovich said the school board is expected to discuss changes to the language in the reopening plan about whether face coverings should be expected or mandatory.
“In our plan which we have already voted on as a board and approved that has been sent to the state for approval,” said Descovich. “We use the word ‘expected’ in our face covering a section of that and it passed 5-0. A couple of board members have had concerns about the word expected and they want the word mandatory.”
School board members hope to know how many students will start the school year in buildings and need parents to reach out to schools.
“We’re asking each school to set a date, the reason I can’t give you a date is that we haven’t done a district-wide date, each school has set a date within their school community,” Descovich said.
Fluctuating health guidelines driven by COVID-19 is also raising questions about how safe reopening schools is during a pandemic.
“As a board we’ve been really uncomfortable with the fact that health professionals have not provided us with ‘here is the metrics that say it’s safe to open schools,’ " Descovich said.
The deadline to select Brevard Virtual School and Volusia Online is July 31. Volusia County’s deadline to submit choice registration is July 30.