Charlotte County’s latest school plan shows schools reopening three weeks after the current date.

School Board Superintendent Steve Dionisio emailed staff Friday evening stating he would make a recommendation to the School Board to delay the start of school for students to Aug. 31 instead of Aug. 10. The School Board will have an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the change.

“I believe this is a decision that should happen quickly as it will obviously impact many areas,” the email stated.

“I will also be recommending all students, staff and individuals must wear masks/face coverings on school property to the maximum extent possible effective July 22, 2020. This includes schools, district office buildings and buses.

“I truly believe we, as a school district, have a responsibility to do our part as a member of the Charlotte County Community in slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

A press release issued July 14 stated that students in Charlotte County Public Schools would have three options: (1) In-school learning, (2) Charlotte Virtual School (enrollment ends July 31) and (3) Homeschool.

The guidelines released earlier this week said schools would re-open Aug. 10, as on the original 2020-21 school calendar, but some parents were still unsure about what to do with their children when it comes to returning to school or choosing online learning as an alternative.

“We will act in the best interest of our students, our parents and our staff in order to provide the best education we can for them throughout this pandemic,” Charlotte County Public Schools Community Liaison Mike Riley said earlier this week. “The health and well-being of our students, teachers, staff and parents is paramount. Decisions will be based with that in mind as a priority.”

The guidelines issued July 14 stated that custodial services at each school will strive to meet CDC guidelines. A transportation survey was sent to parents this week to assess bus usage.

On Wednesday, July 15, the Sarasota County School Board announced they were planning to delay the first of school until Aug. 31. According to the plan, staff will report back to work two weeks before the students, on Aug. 17.

The districts’ plans would have to be approved by the state Department of Education.

Email: sue.erwin@yoursun.com

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