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Schools Delay Start Dates As Talks Continue About Safe Reopening

Many local school districts have pushed back their start dates, as talks continue about how to reopen safely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the latest plans from around the Tampa Bay region:

Hillsborough County school Superintendent Addison Davis has asked the School Board to delay the start of school by two weeks to Aug. 24. The board will vote on this July 23. 

Pinellas County's school board has voted to delay the start of the school year from Aug. 12 to Aug. 24. Superintendent Michael Grego recommended pushing the beginning of the school year back last week. The move means the end of the school year will go from May 27 to June 9, 2021. Parents will have the option of sending their children back to classrooms or selecting between two remote learning alternatives.

Hernando County’s School Board voted to delay reopening until Aug. 31.

Pasco County School Board members on Tuesday night approved Superintendent Kurt Browning's call for a reopening date of Aug. 24, with a return by teachers on Aug. 17, out of concern for community health.

“Even with the delay, there are absolutely no guarantees that the infection rate will improve in that time,” Browning said in an online video, “or that we will have a clear idea of whether or not our community has turned the corner in terms of COVID-19.

a screenshot of Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning in a white shirt and red tie
Credit Pasco County Schools
Pasco County Superintendent Kurt Browning appears in a video explaining the reasons for the delay

“I believe the delay will give us our best shot at complying with state orders and creating a safe environment.” 

The Manatee County School Board has voted to delay the start of school a week until Aug. 17. Teachers are to report Aug. 3.

Polk County is planning to open Aug. 24 at the earliest. Parents are asked to choose in-person or remote options by July 27.

Sarasota County is seeking a three-week delay, until Aug. 31. The deadline for parents to choose remote or remote learning was July 20. If no response, the default is brick-and-mortar.

The plans to delay openings all have to be approved by the state Department of Education.

I cover health and K-12 education – two topics that have overlapped a lot since the pandemic began.