When it comes to health and wellness protocols, Charlotte County Public School officials say they have a solid plan in place for when school reopens.

“We have a ‘playbook’ for the upcoming school year since every single scenario that presents itself will be different,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Desjardins at a workshop on Tuesday.

Parents will have an opportunity to check a new COVID-19 dashboard tab on the district’s website to understand the procedures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of students, employees and, ultimately, the entire community.

Desjardins discussed health and wellness protocols for the upcoming school year that will be in place to ensure the safety and welfare of students, employees and the entire community.

“Parents are asked to check their child’s temperature before allowing their child to enter the school building or ride a school bus and athletes will get their temperatures checked before entering the gym and weight room,” Desjardins said. “The school nurses will be working closely with the department of health if a student is reportedly sick.”

When a COVID-19 case is confirmed and involves a student/staff member at a particular school, families and staff will receive communication from the school that may include one of the following options: automated school messenger telephone call, a DOH-Charlotte Informational letter or an update of the COVID-19 Dashboard located at yourcharlotteschools.net. Due to HIPAA regulations, all identifiable information of the student/staff member will remain confidential.

Board member Kim Amontree asked about the protocol of certain situations since there is so much “conflicting information” about the virus.

Dr. Joseph Pepe, director of the Charlotte County Health Department, said if a student tests positive, it will depend on the situation whether students will be isolated or school will be closed.

“We’re always going to choose what is the most safe for everyone,” Pepe said.

During public comment at the board meeting Tuesday, Matthew Baker, a Charlotte County educator for 22 years, spoke in opposition to the reopening plan.

“I don’t envy district leadership in the responsibility they have to develop a plan ... I can’t imagine the pressure,” Baker said. “But we’ve all seen the list of districts which have shifted to online learning. Some plans offer variations like spreading elementary students across schools while older kids learn remotely. I don’t know the answer and I wouldn’t presume to suggest courses of action.”

Baker cited one online poll that showed 74% of the public thinks that returning to school in unsafe.

“It is the projection of every single person I’ve encountered (who works for the school district) that on our first day back, that the current plan is destined to fail,” Baker said. “And the switch to online learning is inevitable. So two questions remain: how many students and teachers affected by our reopening must die for the call to be made, and why is the current course being pursued so strongly, when so many metrics suggest that those results will be the outcome?”

Students will return to school on Aug 31.

Parents must make the decision to send their children back to school or enroll them in virtual school by Tuesday.

Out of approximately 15,000 students enrolled, 550 are signed up for virtual school and another 1,500 have started the application process, according to district spokesman Mike Riley.

The health and wellness protocols and plan for instructional continuity can be viewed at www.yourcharlotteschools.net.

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