SARASOTA — The Florida Department of Education approved the Sarasota County School District’s plan for reopening.
According to the Department of Education, as of Wednesday, 18 district reopening plans have been approved so far. Plans for Charlotte and DeSoto counties are still pending.
Sarasota Schools will return to face-to-face instruction Aug. 31 with safety measures in place, including requiring all students and staff to wear masks. Here are some of those measures.
• Remove non-essential items from classrooms.
• Look at alternative spaces to hold class when spacing is difficult (large computer labs, media centers, hallways), utilize outdoor classroom space where appropriate.
• Use barriers as needed (the district purchased plastic portable desk partitions for all students).
• Move teachers, instead of students, as often as possible; keep same group of students with same teachers as often as possible.
• Art. Provide art kits for students to ensure they don’t have to share supplies.
• Gym. Consider cleaning equipment after every class, consider allowing students to bring their own equipment, separate large groups into smaller groups using an aide to supervise one of the groups.
• Music. Go outside for singing or hold classes in auditorium, provide face shields if requested.
• Stagger arrival and dismissal times to limit traffic congestion.
• Have parents remain in cars during pick up/drop off, restrict parents from walking up to the schools. Visitors must have an appointment.
• Eliminate or avoid sharing electronic devices, books, games, etc. Consider allowing students to bring their own devices or provide one-to-one technology.
• Disinfect shared items after each use.
• Socially distance through lunch line, have lines marked so students know where to stand.
• Consider moving tables around the cafeteria, and to areas close to the cafeteria like outside.
• Consider getting a waiver for the 20-minute recess requirement, or close the playground equipment and utilize games, walking, yoga.
• ESE students exhibiting needs due to the change of educational environment will be provided additional supports and services recommended for the family.
• Establish times for students to practice 20 seconds of hand washing, make sure students wash hands before and after lunch.
• Instruct students how to properly wear face coverings, including proper cleaning procedures.
• Water fountains shut off until further notice.
• Plan to provide teachers with behavioral interventions to combat the challenging behavior that may have developed due to time away from school.
Innovative Remote Option
According to the plan, beginning Aug. 31, all remote students are required to do a minimum of five hours of instruction and a minimum of 45 minutes per course at the high school level.
Remote teachers will be expected to teach a seven and a half-hour day from their assigned building. Teachers will be expected to provide live, interactive instruction via Zoom or other video platform.
The plan can be viewed in its entirety on the Florida Department of Education’s website: fldoe.org/em-response.
For frequently asked questions related specifically to Sarasota County, visit bit.ly/3jUYrlb.
The school board will vote on a revised school calendar during its meeting at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.