TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis gave Tampa City Council members an update Thursday on how things are going so far during the school year.

Davis told council members while many things have gone well, the district is still facing challenges operating during COVID-19.

The superintendent gave city council members an overview of what's happening in schools. He also answered a couple of their questions about the budget and about testing.

What You Need To Know

Hillsborough Schools launched an online Coronavirus dashboard so the number of reported cases, by employee and students, could be tracked by the community.

Davis said enrollment is down by about 13,000 students, adding some have chosen to go to charter schools, private schools or parents are doing home schooling.

Despite following CDC guidelines, such as mandatory masks, modified classrooms, and one-way hallways, he said the district continues to have COVID cases almost every day, and he's encouraging parents to keep their children home if they're sick.

“If you have little ones that are here in school, we have modified our classrooms to make sure we have social distancing wherever possible,” Davis said. “We are complying to every protocol and every step we can take to mitigate COVID -19.”

Davis said schools were unprepared when they first shut down in March and things look very different now that they've reopened.

One council member asked Davis about budget cuts that are being considered with possible layoffs over the next two years.

Davis said they're looking at each school individually, considering enrollment and needs and that they'll try to make cuts through attrition as much as possible.

"We've got to get to a point where we're back in line with our expenditures and we are looking at every dollar and every cent to be a reliable organization," Davis expressed. 

Davis also noted that class sizes will stay within state guidelines, even if staff numbers shrink. He also said resources may be added to schools that are struggling. 

Another council member asked about testing that took place at the start of school. Davis said that was to assess where students are so lesson plans can be tailored accordingly.

Davis said he spends his mornings touring schools so he can see what's working and what's not in terms of safety measures.

He told the council his goal is to improve the district's ranking academically while also making safety a top priority. 

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