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A Panel of Public Health Authorities and Medical Professionals Advise School Board Members about Reopening Schools

August 06, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tanya Arja or Erin Maloney
Office of Communications
813-272-4060

Tampa, Fl. (August 6, 2020) – Today, after a majority vote by the School Board, Hillsborough County Public Schools will move to 100% online learning, either through eLearning or Hillsborough Virtual K-12, for the first four weeks of school. All students will transition to online learning beginning on August 24, the first day of school. The Board also voted to come back at the September 8 School Board meeting to review Florida Department of Health and CDC data to determine next steps beyond the four weeks.

During Thursday’s Special-Called School Board Meeting, a team of public health authorities and medical professionals were invited to review the current COVID-19 conditions in our community. The panel, created through our partnership with TGH/USF Health and the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County along with local practitioners, presented the most recent data, community trends, and the projected outlook over the next several weeks.

“I want to thank our parents, students, staff and the community for their feedback. I recognize about half of our families are ready to come back to school. This has been a difficult decision for our Board members. Although I was in favor of the superintendent’s original reopening plan because it offered more choices for families, I recognize the seriousness of the situation and I will be supportive of the decision and the superintendent’s implementation of the plan,” said School Board Chair Melissa Snively.

Teachers and staff will continue with professional development trainings on the most effective ways to provide interactive, engaging virtual classrooms to create the best learning environment for their students until the first day of school. Teachers and staff will then transition to online learning.

eLearning will look very different from the fourth quarter of the last school year. Students will attend school online during regular school hours and follow a standard school schedule. Teachers will provide “live” instruction each day, delivering lessons through Canvas, our new learning platform which replaces Edsby. Depending on the content, after the initial “live” instruction, students may transition to independent work, collaborative group work and/or asynchronous learning.

“I am here to protect all learners and our staff. The state’s Executive Order required districts to open up five days in our brick and mortar schools. This is why we gave our families options. The Board has made an informed decision with input from public health authorities, and my team will work to make sure eLearning is dynamic and that our staff provides wrap around services for our children. I look forward to the day we can bring students back to our school campuses,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

The district will continue to provide updates on ways parents can help their children during this time. For more information, visit our website, HillsboroughSchools.org.

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