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Tampa Bay Schools Plan For The Fall Semester, County-By-County

Elementary students wearing face masks while using laptop with their teacher in the classroom.
Drazen Zigic/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Group of school kids with protective face masks learning on laptop with their teacher during a class in the classroom.

The COVID-19 vaccine availability has made brick-and-mortar learning a more attainable goal for the upcoming fall semester.

With the 2020-21 school year coming to an end, Tampa Bay schools districts have been sorting out what the fall semester holds for students and teachers.

The Centers for Disease Control has recently revised its in-school COVID-19 guidelines to three feet of social distancing as opposed to the previous six foot standard.

The COVID-19 vaccine availability has made brick-and-mortar learning a more attainable goal for the upcoming fall semester, especially with the vaccine being potentially offered to children later this year.

Below is a county-by-county breakdown of the responses from school district officials in the greater Tampa Bay region:

Hillsborough County: “We haven’t made a decision yet, when we do we’ll communicate with families.”

Pinellas County: “A final decision has not been made, we will share more information once we have decided.”

Pasco County: "Based on recent positive trends and initial guidance from the state, the district will not offer the mySchool Online learning option next school year,” Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning said in a YouTube video March 30. “We expect the vast majority of our students to be back in the classroom for in-person learning and that our employees will return to their classrooms or offices."

While Browning said Pasco’s mySchool Online would not be offered in the fall, the Pasco eSchool option, which has been offered since 2009, will remain available.

Polk County: “We will definitely have in-person learning, but as far as what other online learning options that will be offered, we are still weighing out our options.”

Manatee County: “E-learning will not be an option for students next year. For online learning, students can sign up for Florida Virtual School.”

Sarasota County: “The board hasn’t decided yet, there will be a meeting (April 20) where the superintendent should reveal the final decision.”

Hernando County: “The Digital Home learning option has come to end, and plans for students to return on campus is a go. However parents who wish to have their child remain in a virtual learning setting may enroll in the Hernando County eSchool.”

Although many districts have yet to make a decision, many are holding meetings later this month where superintendents will answer the community’s questions on this topic.

Leali Shalabi is a WUSF/ USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for the spring of 2021.
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