HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. — The Hendry County School Board voted 4-1 on opening schools for face-to-face learning Tuesday morning. The board called an emergency meeting after the Florida Department of Education denied their original plan to keep all students at home while teachers teach in their classrooms.
Board member Jon Basquin noticeably uncomfortable with the idea of bringing students back to a physical classroom.
Superintendent Paul Puletti: The first five days could be by the brick-and-mortar student on the digital platform.
Jon Basquin: That’s gonna be a nightmare.
Board Chair Stephanie Busin along with three others voted for the brick and mortar option starting August 31st.
“This plan in all of its imperfection, is a good option. Let me rephrase that. It is the best bad option,” said Busin.
What’s required of students at the. Beginning of the school year was a bit confusing, even for the board members. Superintendent Paul Puletti says all students are expected to attend digital classes august 24th. School buildings will open August 31st. Parents can decide to stay in the digital option or switch to brick and mortar.
“Those first five days are not going to be counted against them, because we’re not necessarily, traditionally taking attendance on those days,” said Puletti.
About a dozen teachers are not working right now because they’ve contracted COVID-19 or have been exposed to it.
“Since teachers have returned of those 15, and teachers returned last Monday. 10 are now out,” said Puletti.
Basquin asked about checking students temperatures at bus stops. Puletti says it’s not a simple task.
“One issue we have, if we conduct temperature checks at the bus, are we as a district prepared to leave a student on the side of the road?” he asked.
Students feeling sick on the bus will sit in designated isolated seats, and check in with the school nurse once they arrive on campus. Teachers will use face shields when teaching one-on-one, and students have to wear face masks while on school grounds and on the school bus.
The board plans to have a staff meeting as early as Wednesday to discuss more details moving forward.