Leon County Schools was set to start operating in-person classes on Monday, Aug. 24, but due to the drastic increase in positive coronavirus cases locally and across Florida, LCS has shifted the start date to Aug. 31.
District officials said they pushed the start date back to ensure better safety guidelines and regulations for all teachers, staff, administrators and students in hopes to return back in the spring for a normal school semester.
James Cole Jr., Leon County Schools’ transportation director, is making sure each student starts their day right and healthy.
“All students are required to wear a mask, if they do not have a mask, they will receive one from the bus driver or they are not allowed on the bus,” Cole said. “Each bus will have foam hand sanitizer and all surfaces will be clean before and after each ride. All bus drivers are required to wear a protective mask and protective gloves. Before entering the classroom, all students are required to wear a mask unless you have a special circumstance as well as undergo a daily health screening and temperature check.”
George Williams, a junior information technology major at TCC, gave honest insight on Leon County Schools’ reopening plan and how it can quickly turn bad if proper adjustments aren’t made. “I believe that if schools are to reopen then the school districts need to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of each student. That means providing hand sanitizer stations, medical masks and adhering to the 6 feet apart guidelines. If not, schools need to switch their academics to remote learning to better continue the students’ academic learning, if not it will be a huge spike at all schools which could lead to more deaths,” Williams said.
Leon County Schools has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it prepared its plans for the fall semester.
“We had over 100 subcommittees, researchers, and task force organizations working 24-7 to stay on top of the virus because things change so quickly,” said Alan Cox, an assistant superintendent. Cox was questioned by a concerned parent during a ZOOM informational session addressing the district’s return plan. The parent asked, “Since 18 students are allowed in a classroom, if another student happens to test positive, will all parents be notified within 24-hours?”
Cox, responded by meeting with legal consultants regarding HIPAA and FERPA laws to better understand who can be notified. As of now there have been no final decisions but parents may be notified. If approved, parents will only be allowed to know for health purposes but the student’s information will not be released under any circumstances.