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East County Thursday, Jun. 25, 2020 1 month ago

Manatee school district lays out recommended reopening plan

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Elementary students to return fully to school while middle and high schools will have hybrid classes.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

After much anticipation and uncertainty over the coming school year, Cynthia Saunders, the superintendent for the School District of Manatee County, has shared a reopening plan for the fall.

Elementary school students will return fully in the fall, in the plan that still needs to be formally adopted by the school board. 

Saunders said the district learned in the fourth quarter of the school year while everyone was doing e-learning that elementary students and parents struggled with learning online full-time, and it was difficult for some parents to go to work because of lack of access to childcare. 

Students in sixth grade will return to in-person classes four days a week with the fifth day being online. 

Students in seventh through 12th grades will participate in hybrid classes, meaning students will rotate through in-person and online classes throughout the week. 

The hybrid schedule at the middle and high school levels will allow for reduced student populations in their buildings, to better allow for social distancing.

Saunders said because middle and high school students are older, they will be able to remain at home with less supervision.

The district will ensure siblings will be on the same hybrid schedule.

Regardless of what the School Board of Manatee County decides in the coming weeks, parents have the option to have their students continue with e-learning full time.

Although the district has developed the framework for its reopening plan, Saunders said the plan could change by the first day of school,  Aug. 10.

"There's a lot of time between now and Aug. 10, and there's a lot of school year in front of us," Saunders said. "We're going to make the best decisions we can and keeping in mind the safety of our employees and our students are the most important thing as well as ensuring the best education possible."

The board is expected to vote on the plan July 14.

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