State directs school districts to close due to coronavirus concerns
The School District of Manatee County's schools will be closed to students until March 30, and Out-of-Door Academy will close its campuses in Lakewood Ranch and Siesta Key through April 3.
Richard Corcoran, the Florida commissioner of education, has directed school districts across the state to close for two weeks as a result of concerns regarding the coronavirus.
As of March 13, the district and ODA are unaware of any coronavirus cases in the schools.
The school district will extend spring break, which is from March 16 to March 20, an additional week to meet the state's requirements.
All district employees will return to work March 23. Instructional personnel will work on professional development and training, and support personnel will conduct business as usual and prepare for students' return, according to a release from the district.
“The Coronavirus pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our society and across the world, so it is not surprising that it is now directly impacting our schools,” said Superintendent Cynthia Saunders in a release from the district. “We are charged with the safety and security of our students and employees so we will abide by all protocols and procedures endorsed by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], the Florida Department of Health, our governor and the commissioner of education. I know our students, employees and community will rise up to meet the challenges before us.”
Out-of-Door Academy will move to a virtual platform starting March 16.
In a message to ODA parents sent March 12, David Mahler, ODA’s head of school, informed parents that a remote learning platform will provide students access to resources and curriculum materials online as they attend real-time virtual classes. Students will have the opportunity to connect directly with their teachers. ODA’s division heads will provide additional instructions, scheduled and information with students.