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Questions arise after Hillsborough School District plans released; leaders answer

Education

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis presented the district’s reopening plan at a school board workshop Tuesday morning.

Davis shows the school board three different plans, which include the governor’s reopening requirements.

The first was a traditional or face-to-face learning model. Model B was hybrid rotation learning (40% face to face learning, 60% online learning). And Model C was strictly online learning, similar to what was used at the end of the school year.

Matthew Hoff, Director of the Virtual Instruction Program tells 8 On Your Side, regardless of the model the district will use in August, parents can still decide to keep their children home. However, parents have to sign off as a learning coach.

“All that means is that they work with our teachers and guidance counselors to set up a schedule at home to make sure students have time set aside in the schedule to work on the courses they’re enrolled,” Hoff said.

Hoff emphasized that virtual school is different from e-learning. E-learning is a school based program, whereas, virtual school is a district program.

“In the virtual world we front load everything so kids can work at their own pace,” Hoff said. “They can work faster or slower on the content they are working on as long as the stuff is turned in by the weekly benchmark, Friday, to not fall behind.”

School district leaders have been reviewing responses from the survey sent to parents and staff members, so they can create a reopening plan for the Fall.

When moms and dads across the school district were surveyed, here’s how the numbers came out:

  • Out of 52,883 parents polled, 52.7 percent said they’re comfortable with their children returning to class in the fall.
  • Out of 9,245 staff polled, 51.9 percent say they feel comfortable to return to schools in the fall.

The superintendent also said students would not be required to wear masks, but they may do so if they choose to.

Davis added that providing a mask for every student would cost the district $9 million a month to purchase single-use masks for all 220,000 students, while staff will be provided reusable masks.

The district will also provide sanitizing products in classrooms and common areas.

Davis tells 8 On Your Side that health and safety are top priorities.

“I want to make sure the environment I put my child in, is the environment I’d put every child in. So, 220.000 students that we help serve every day, I treat it as if they’re my own children, take care of them along the way,” said Davis.

Davis will use the school board’s feedback to tweak the plan if necessary. The district plans to send parents another survey by July 1.

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