TAMPA, Fla. — School campuses in Hillsborough County will reopen Monday as planned. School board members held an emergency meeting Friday morning after a judge lifted a stay in the teacher's union lawsuit, giving local districts control over whether to reopen without facing financial penalties.
What You Need To Know
- Judge Invalidates state’s attempt to withhold funding from schools
- With the threat gone, original plan of eLearning may be considered
- Hillsborough School Board votes to keep current plan with students returning to campus on Monday
- RELATED: Hillsborough Schools Schedule Emergency Meeting After Judge's Ruling
As of right now, students who chose to return to campus will be heading back to classrooms on August 31.
However, that was called into question after the latest ruling in the FEA lawsuit came down late on Thursday.
Legally, it put the district's vote on August 6 to go virtual for the first month of school back into effect. So the board had to call an emergency meeting Friday morning to vote on whether to recind that decision. Board members voted 5-2 to do so.
Now schools are back to Superintendent Addison Davis' plan to open classrooms for traditional learning on the 31st.
"It has been frustrating because some of the decisions that we've had to make are dependent on decisions made in Tallahassee. So we're trying to be as responsive as possible so today's meeting was really important to have first thing in the morning so we could make the decision, so our parents and our stakeholders, students, and faculty would know exactly what's going to happen come Monday," said school board member Melissa Snively.
Board members who changed their position on reopening say they feel more comfortable than they did a month ago because COVID-19 positivity numbers have gone down. However, two board members wanted to stick with the vote to wait to open campuses, saying they haven't heard anything in the last month to change their minds.
Several board members say they're happy with the idea of local district's having more control, which the judge's original decision gives them.
They do plan to keep watching the FEA lawsuit as it moves through the court system, but they predict that could go on for months and might even go all the way to the State Supreme Court.
School board members also continued to press Superintendent Davis for guidelines about when they'll close schools because of coronavirus cases, and a dashboard to keep track of them.
Davis said they're still working on it and hope to have something to release within the next couple of days.
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