SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Sarasota County School Board has voted unanimously to move the school start date from Aug. 10 to Aug. 31 for full-time brick and mortar and remote learning.
Face masks will be mandatory for everyone returning to campus.
There are two instructional options for parents to choose from which are face to face classes five days a week or full time remote learning.
“We are pushing the limits of the Governor’s orders,” said School Board member Eric Robinson. “August feels too soon for me, but we are mandated by the state and the Governor has forced us to do this. We have at risk $86,000,000. The state is saying they’re going to withhold $2000 for students; we have 43,000 students — that is $86,000,000. That is more than the amount that we get from the referendum,” said Robinson.
Several parents, teachers, and students protested in-person classes. Tiffany Pepsin tells 8 On Your Side it just isn’t safe to go back yet.
“We have a friend from our high school that I work at that is in the ICU fighting for his life and I don’t wanna see any more of my friends fighting for their life,” Pepsin said. “I truly believe if we open, we are going to cause another spike and it is not just going to impact people in schools, it is going to impact the community as a whole,” she continued.
A small group participated in a counter protest. Sherri Tennerino has two students who attend Venice High School. She tells 8 On Your Side remote learning for her children was a ‘total failure’ with too many distractions.
“I understand their fear. I am a nurse and I face the COVID virus every day that I work, but the virus isn’t going away and we can’t keep our lives on hold,” said Tennerino.
As of now, teachers would start on Aug. 17.
The district will send its final reopening plan to Tallahassee for state approval.
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