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10 frequently-asked questions about reopening Tampa Bay schools from coronavirus closures

We asked our Bay area school districts the same questions. Here's what we learned.

10 Tampa Bay

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Published: 9:29 PM EDT July 24, 2020
Updated: 9:40 PM EDT July 24, 2020

Florida schools are scrambling to figure out how to safely begin a new school year during a global pandemic.

The state has become a coronavirus hotspot. On Friday, it passed 400,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants parents to have the option to send their kids back for five-day-a-week, in-person learning. And, the Florida Department of Education has made clear that traditional school buildings must reopen for that purpose.

While parents in many districts will be able to choose alternate schooling options, including between variations on remote learning, this article seeks to answer questions for parents who choose a traditional in-person school option for their kids. Logistics will differ depending on where families live. And, that leaves many parents, who are leaning toward traditional schooling, with questions.

10 Tampa Bay compiled a list of 10 of the most frequently asked questions parents have expressed on social media. And, we emailed them to each of our local school districts. Some districts responded and pointed us to their websites. Two districts, Pasco and Sarasota, answered all our questions directly. 

Scroll down for what we learned, broken up by county.

First, here were the questions we sent each district:

  1. Will students stay in one classroom all day or move from class to class?
  2. What will be different about gym, music and art classes?
  3. How often will shared desks, workstations and classrooms be cleaned?
  4. What’s the maximum number of students allowed in a classroom?
  5. How are schedules being adjusted to allow for social distancing?
  6. How will social distancing work in hallways, gyms and lunchrooms?
  7. If your district is requiring face masks, how will that rule be enforced? And where and when can students remove their masks?
  8. Going back to school under normal circumstances is stressful enough. What resources are available for students, teachers and staff who feel overwhelmed by new health and safety precautions or who just need a break?
  9. Will families be able to switch their child to e-learning or virtual school after the school year starts if they don’t feel comfortable being in a physical classroom?
  10. What’s the best way for families to quickly reach their respective school or district with questions or concerns about reopening?

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