Educators and other key officials working on how to safely reopen K-12 schools in Florida considered the possibility on Friday that it may not be safe to reopen schools right away.
“We need to be able to consider alternative calendars. It might not be possible for students to begin in August,” said Carol Cleaver, an educator from Escambia County, one of group of educators, lawmakers, school board members and others who participated in a K-12 committee on reopening schools.
The committee was launched by the Florida Education Association and the United Faculty of Florida and held its last meeting Friday. Recommendations will be presented on Tuesday in a press conference.
Committee members stressed that funding is a necessary component of the plans to keep students and staff safe in the new academic year.
Schools will need ample personal protective equipment for students and teachers, and more staff and faculty, including trained substitute teachers, school psychologists and additional counselors to provide emotional support for students as well as teachers.
Cleaver says it would not be fair to evaluate schools and teachers during a time when schools are trying to get students caught up in their studies. Online learning during the pandemic has faced challenges, leaving students falling behind.
“We’re not sure if there will be a second (COVID-19) wave–if we’ll have to all go back home,” Cleaver said. “So it doesn’t make sense to evaluate schools this year.”