Superintendent of schools: “We are in uncharted territory”

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Clarke announced to the School Board of Alachua County on March 17th that students will not be returning to school until at least April 15.

The directive was released within an hour of the regular meeting and Clarke explained to board members that the district will put feeding students and developing a new instructional continuity plan at the top of the priority list.

That plan includes training teachers how to teach online and developing a strategy to make sure all students have access to the technology needed to learn online.

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Clarke said a survey has been sent out to help determine computer needs.

She also congratulated school staff who have been feeding students at 2,500 lunches and 2,400 breakfasts at the 34 sites throughout Alachua County.

“We are way ahead,” Clarke said about feeding students. “I’m proud of the great work from our food and nutrition staff,” she said.

The next hurdle for the district is to make sure students have food to eat during Spring Break, Clarke said.

The school district cannot provide free meals during regularly scheduled school breaks but Clarke said the schools sites can still serve food that is provided or purchased from other sources.

“This is a fluid situation,” Clarke said about the changes mandated by the State in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The community is rallying around us and being flexible,” she added. “We are in uncharted territory.”

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