The traditional opening of public schools in FL may no longer mean August

Classroom. Getty Images.

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.”

Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.