Students will have three options when classes resume this fall in Pasco Schools.
Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning announced his ReOpening Pasco Schools plan in a news release issued June 18.
“Parents sent us a message loud and clear: they wanted options,” Browning said, in the news release. “Many are eager to have their student return to school and see their teachers and classmates. But, many aren’t ready for that yet. There’s an option here for everyone.”
Here are the choices outlined in the district’s 2020-2021 reopening plan:
- Traditional– A return to campus and classroom with the standard school schedule and bell times.
This option includes a heavy emphasis on health and safety precautions. Students will practice safe social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Schools will use signage and consistent communication to discourage the gathering of large groups of students. Students will be expected to wear masks or cloth face coverings on the school bus, but masks will not be required in classrooms.
- mySchool Online– Virtual learning with a connection to the student’s enrolled school.
This option requires that students follow the standard school schedule and bell times. It features lessons and virtual interaction with teachers during each class period – all conducted online.
- Virtual School– Online learning through Pasco’s nationally recognized Pasco eSchool.
This model offers flexible scheduling and is taught by Pasco County teachers. Students work at their own pace and can do schoolwork during non-traditional hours.
Before announcing its reopening plan, the district sought input from families and staff in recent weeks to gauge their comfort level and priorities for the start of the new school year.
The district also conducted focus groups and gathered ideas, thoughts, and concerns via a tool called ThoughtExchange.
Thousands of people weighed in, with clear themes emerging.
Among the primary concerns were a need for options and the cleanliness at school, according to the news release.
In addition to announcing the news to the media, the district used telephone calls and emails to announce the plan to staff and families.
Families will be asked to choose an option for their student or students by July 1, to enable the district to make staffing decisions.
The school year begins Aug. 10.
Browning also appears in an introductory video on the district’s website, which includes a more detailed description of the three options, as well as a set of frequently asked questions.
To view that, visit Pasco.k12.fl.us/reopening.
Pasco County Schools ReOpening Plan
Pasco County Schools has issued a reopening plan. Here are some of the details:
Public health actions on campuses
- Practice safe social distancing to the greatest extent possible
- Post signage and provide lessons to strongly encourage frequent hand-washing and hygiene practices
- Ensure hand sanitizer is available throughout the campus
- Increase cleaning protocols throughout each campus, including replacing air filters more frequently
- Limit group gatherings
- Encourage face coverings on campus
- Conduct symptom screenings
School bus safety
- Expect students to wear face coverings on the bus
- Clean high-touch areas between runs
- Ensure hand sanitizer is available on each bus
- Disinfect each bus thoroughly at the end of each day
Extra steps at elementary level
- District will use a cohort isolation model, where students will spend time on campus with the group of students in their class, including in the classroom, the cafeteria, media center and the playground. The goal is to limit Interaction with students from other classes to the greatest extent possible. By doing that, if a student displays symptoms of illness, it likely will impact their cohort classmates, and not the entire school — in terms of quarantine or other interventions.
Extra steps at the secondary level
Each secondary school will have a customized plan to discourage large gatherings of students in hallways and common areas. Clear communications and signage will be used to reinforce that message. The number of students allowed in the cafeteria, media center and gymnasiums will be significantly reduced. Extracurricular activities will resume, and will adhere to recommendations from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the state.
Source: Pasco County Schools
SOME COMMON Q&As
- If I choose the Virtual or mySchool operation, do I have to have a computer?
- A device and an Internet connection will be necessary for distance learning. When choosing your option, indicate whether you have a device and access to the Internet. The district will provide devices and arrange Internet hotspots and hubs, when necessary.
- Under the traditional model, will elementary children have recess?
- Yes, recess will be organized to emphasize social distancing; playground equipment will be cleaned between uses.
Head Start options
The traditional model is the only option available for Head Start participants.
Will mySchool Online be identical to the end-of-the year distance learning?
No, there will be more frequent real-time interaction between students and teachers. Also, the mySchool Online model will incorporate standard school schedules and bell times, leading to a learning experience more connected to teachers.
Will mySchool Online or Virtual students be able to participate in athletics?
Yes, students will have the same opportunities to participate in athletics.
Will students wear masks in school?
Masks will not be required, but will be allowed.
How will you keep surfaces clean?
Maintenance workers and school custodians will clean frequently touched surfaces throughout the day and conduct overall cleanings at the conclusion of every day. Other non-custodial staff members will be expected to do their part keeping surfaces clean, and will be provided spray bottles and microfiber cloths for additional cleaning. Teachers will have access to cleaning supplies for their classroom.
What other steps are being taken to ensure a healthy environment?
Pasco Schools will partner with parents in educating students on the importance of hand-washing, hygiene and social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be made available in classrooms and workplaces. The schedule for changing air conditioning filters has been accelerated.
What will my student’s school do if a classmate or staff member is infected with COVID-19?
We will send a clear message to parents and staff that if they are exhibiting any symptoms, they should not come to school or report to work. Any student exhibiting symptoms at school will be taken to a location at the school clinic set aside for possible COVID-19 cases, and their parent will be notified to take them home or to visit a medical professional.
What if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
The Pasco County Health Department will notify the district if a student or staff member tests positive. We will notify parents, while not specifically identifying the student or staff member. We will cooperate with the Health Department as they conduct the appropriate notifications of individuals who have been in contact with the person infected. Our ReOpening Plan is designed to limit the chances of infection and to limit the disruption to a school or workplace in the event of an infection.
For more information, visit Pasco.k12.fl.us/reopening/faq.
Source: Pasco County Schools
Published June 24, 2020