TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – After a delayed and rocky start to the 2020-2021 school year, Tampa Bay schools are gearing up for what will hopefully be a smoother transition into the upcoming academic session.
While residents are still being impacted by COVID-19, local school districts are still starting on time as planned.
Below is the first day of classes date for all Tampa Bay schools (in alphabetical order):
- Citrus County: August 10
- Hardee County: August 10
- Hernando County: August 10
- Highlands County: August 10
- Hillsborough County: August 10
- Manatee County: August 10
- Pasco County: August 10
- Pinellas County: August 11
- Polk County: August 10
- Sarasota County: August 10
Despite the excitement for the 2021-2022 school year, many questions still remain on safety measures in schools as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state.
At this time, all Tampa Bay school districts have noted mask-wearing is optional despite federal recommendations.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said July 30 that he will be signing an executive order to keep masks optional in schools.
“I think that this decision about whether parents want their kids to have to wear masks all day at school, I think that’s a decision that falls squarely within the concord of this Parents’ Bill of Rights that I signed,” he said.
The order would direct the Florida Department of Education and Department of Health to put rules into place that would keep mask-wearing a parental decision rather than a school requirement.
Parents in Manatee County suggested keeping masked and unmasked elementary students in separate classrooms to the school district. However, no final decision has been made.