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East County Tuesday, Jul. 7, 2020 6 months ago

School District of Manatee forced to rethink plan to open schools

State order will require all students to have the option of full-time, on-campus learning.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Manatee County school officials will have to rework plans for opening public schools Aug. 10.

On Monday, Florida's Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an executive order declaring schools must open five days per week for students. Manatee County School District Superintendent Cynthia Saunders had proposed to open elementary schools five days a week with in-classroom instruction, but had proposed a hybrid scenario for upper grades. 

Saunders said the district was notified of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran's executive order Monday afternoon.

"We are in the process of reviewing it. We will be discussing the executive order with the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County and our School Board this week and will have more to say once we have had those discussions," Saunders said in a statement.

The order states: "Upon reopening in August, all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students, subject to advice and orders of the Florida Department of Health, local departments of health, Executive Order 20-149 and subsequent executive orders."

Under the plan Saunders proposed June 25, students in sixth grade would have returned 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 would allow for reduced student populations in their buildings, to better allow for social distancing.

The School Board was expected to vote on that plan July 14.

To read the state order, click here

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