ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It's not exactly that time of year again, though Tampa Bay school districts have begun figuring out their fall back-to-school plans.
The coronavirus pandemic threw parents, teachers and students for a loop this past year, with a sudden rush to online learning options.
COVID-19 vaccine availability -- potentially for children later this year -- recently has become a positive sign brick-and-mortar learning can fully resume with safety protocols in place.
Some of the newest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 3 feet of physical distancing.
Here's a county-by-county breakdown of districts in the Tampa Bay area:
Citrus County: "We have always offered Citrus Virtual, which will remain in place in August."
Hernando County: "At the April 13th meeting, the Hernando School Board approved the recommendation of School Superintendent John Stratton to end the Digital Home Learning option June 18th, the last day of school for students.
"...Parents who wish to have their child remain in a virtual learning setting for the 2021-2022 school year may enroll their student in Hernando eSchool, the district's virtual school. Enrollment for Hernando eSchool runs from May 10 - July 19th. Parents must register with eSchool if you wish to use them as your school of choice."
Highlands County: "Since Christmas, our two options within the district have been Highlands Virtual School and face/face in the school buildings. We will still have those two options next year."
Hillsborough County: "We have not made a decision."
Manatee County: E-learning will not be an option next year. Parents still can sign their children up for Florida Virtual School.
Pasco County: "Based on recent positive trends we expect there will no longer be the need for mySchool Online option next school year. We expect the vast majority of our students to be back in the classroom for in-person learning." Pasco eSchool will continue to be an option.
Pinellas County: "We are currently working on plans for the closing of this school year, a robust summer program and are reviewing all safety protocols and plans for the next school year. We will share information as soon as a final decision is made."
Polk County: "Polk County Public Schools is still considering potential learning options for the 2021-22 school year, and no final plans have been reached at this time. We continue to weigh what will best suit the needs of our various stakeholders — including our students, employees, and their families.
"We are also awaiting any guidance or updates from the Florida Department of Education regarding learning options for the 2021-22 school year."
Sarasota County: "At this time, no definitive decisions have been made as to whether concurrent teaching and remote learning will continue into next school year. It is still too early to determine plans in light of the ever-changing COVID pandemic.
"We are all hoping for as “normal” a start to the 2021-22 school year as possible. As we monitor developments and guidance from the CDC, the FLDOE, as well as recommendations from the local and state Department of Health, we will continue to perform our due diligence regarding district-wide plans."
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