School Board pushes back opening date to August 24th, requires masks for students and staff

During a marathon six-hour special meeting/workshop last evening, the School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) voted 5-0 to push back the first day of school for students to August 24th.

“That two-week delay will allow for more preparation and planning before school begins. The Board’s vote included additional training days for teachers and staff,” it stated in the SBAC’s release.

The Board also approved a mandatory mask policy – which means students and staff will be required to wear masks at school and on school buses with limited medical exceptions.

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Under a state emergency order issued last week by Richard Corcoran, the Florida Education Secretary, all public schools in the state must reopen five days a week in August. Florida districts must also submit reopening plans that meet state requirements to the FDOP for approval. Those plans are due July 31st and must include an estimate of the number of students who plan to attend school online.

Under the district’s reopening plan, local families will have three options for instruction this fall. They include the traditional, brick-and-mortar option requirement mandated by the state and two online options – a Digital Academy and the Alachua eSchool. Families are being asked to choose the option they prefer by 11:59 pm on July 19th.

For more information about the three options, the Choose Your School Option form and FAQ’s document, go to the district’s website here.

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