School Board holding emergency ‘virtual’ meeting next week to prepare for future meetings during pandemic

 In order to keep Alachua County Public Schools operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the School Board will be holding an emergency ‘virtual’ meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14th with one item on the agenda.That item is a change to current board policy so that Board members can meet virtually while the pandemic lasts.

Governor Ron DeSantis has declared the services provided by Florida’s public schools to be ‘essential’ during the crisis. Those services include providing instruction and the preparation and distribution of free meals to children aged 0-18. 

The Governor’s executive order of March 20th allows local governmental bodies, including school boards, to use “communications media technology, such as telephonic and video conference” for their meetings. The Board will be amending its own policy to allow that.

“We need to ensure the district continues to function during this crisis while still protecting the health and welfare of our Board members, students, staff and the general public,” said the district’s attorney Brian Moore. 

For the meeting on the 14th and all other Board meetings held during the following 90 days, Board members will be attending through video conferencing. The Board may vote to extend the practice if COVID-19 continues to pose a risk.

The agenda for the emergency meeting is available at https://bit.ly/2y4xFTU. Citizens can submit their input through email at issues@gm.sbac.edu. Those who prefer not to use email may go to the School Board meeting room located at the District Office at 620 E. University Avenue to offer their input. The Board members will not be physically located in the room but will be able to see and hear the speakers.

To maintain social distancing, the number of people in the Board room will be strictly limited, and all will have their temperatures taken before entering. Members of the public will be able to watch the meeting live on YouTube at

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCydIqRtzUHvNlsReBrAu9nw

The meeting is also expected to run on Channel 12, the local government access channel, unless it is preempted by another governmental meeting.

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