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Hillsborough County Public Schools and State Leaders Come to Terms on School Reopening Plan

August 13, 2020

For Immediate Release

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

Tampa, Fl. (August 13, 2020) – Superintendent Addison Davis worked tirelessly to reach a resolution with the Florida Department of Education, but, after lengthy discussions, state leaders rejected our district’s proposed school reopening phased-in models.

The superintendent drove to Tallahassee on Tuesday to discuss our district’s position. Superintendent Davis presented two different phased-in models to ensure we serve our most vulnerable student population while remaining compliant with the state’s emergency order. Both models were denied by the Department of Education.

To meet the state’s emergency order, Hillsborough County Public Schools will now begin eLearning for all students on August 24 and transition to brick and mortar a week later for those who want to come back on August 31, as required by the order.

“I went to Tallahassee to advocate for our teachers and students as we work to open schools in a smart and safe manner. The Department of Education made it clear that any model outside the emergency order would result in a negative financial impact. That reduction in state funds would be detrimental to students’ learning and our organization. Let me be clear, our School Board made an informed decision substantiated after hearing from local public health authorities. As we move forward, for those families who choose to come back to brick and mortar school, we stand ready with our protocols and procedures using PPE, social distancing, and contact tracing through the local health department,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

The first week of school we are calling Smart Start Week which will allow our learners to kick off the 2020-21 school year in the safest manner possible. Smart Start Week is not optional; it is the start of the school year. Teachers will record daily attendance, provide expectations for the new school year, and begin the instructional process. It will also allow students to build a foundation for success while becoming acclimated to the new health and safety procedures that will begin once they return.

We appreciate the patience and flexibility of our students, families and staff while we continue to work through this process. The health and safety of our entire community has always been our top priority.

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