COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — It’s been a long time coming. The first day of school for Southwest Florida elementary, middle and high school students is just days away. No matter how your child goes back to school, Fox 4 is asking districts how they plan to do it safely.
Collier County Public Schools was the first district in the area to announce COVID-19 precautions just before spring break in March. Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton says they’re ready to get back in the classroom with social distancing and constant cleaning.
“Its from the second they get on that bus - it’s hand sanitizing,” she said. “If you’re in middle and high school, seven times a day, you’re going to keep walking in rooms and sanitizing, sanitizing, sanitizing.”
She says on top of tending to students’ health needs, Dr. Patton says staff members are prepared to support students through their stress related to the pandemic with trauma-informed care practices.
“Social-emotional learning. These kids have been through a lot. They’ve not been around their friends. They’ve not been to the school. When they see school, they have in their mind what school looks like. It is going to look different,” she said.
58 percent of students in the district are registered for in-person learning. But, that number could change even during the school year. Patton says the district is remaining flexible with parents’ choices.
“Where they feel right now, they may feel different in nine weeks from now,” she said.
Dr. Patton says if you haven’t already, you should get your children used to wearing their mask for extended periods of the day, so they’re ready next week. She told Fox 4 she’s looking most forward to sitting down with one special kindergartener at their home on Monday for e-learning.