BRADENTON, Fla. — Manatee County will have to rethink plans on how they will be welcoming students back in August.
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Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order on Monday that requires all schools to reopen in-person for the start of the school year.
In late June, Manatee County Superintendent Cynthia Saunders outlined her proposal for back-to-school plans. They included a hybrid schedule for secondary school students that would rotate between in-person and online classes. That, she said, would allow for social distance and more time for cleaning.
Elementary school students were slated to return full-time.
Those plans will now likely have to change. The only way around it, would be if local health officials override the order by determining it is not safe to reopen schools due to the virus. Saunders said she planned to meet with Dr. Jennifer Bencie, head of the county health department, this week to discuss further.
“We do need to take into account our employees coming back into the building as well, and how do we comply with the CDC guidelines?” Saunders said.
Saunders didn’t count out the possibility of still using that hybrid model in some capacity. She referenced that schools could have to close periodically during the school year for cleaning.
Students will still have the option to continue online learning for the 2020-2021 school year if they wish to do so.
The school board will meet Thursday at 1 p.m. to discuss reopening plans and will meet again on July 14 to finalize the decision.