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What parents need to know about reopening of schools in Hillsborough County

Education leaders met Thursday to review basic rules of reopening for one of the largest school districts in Florida.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Parents have a lot of questions about the reopening schools. 

We are almost through the month of June and the summer always flies by. 

On Thursday, education leaders met to discuss what reopening Hillsborough County Schools would look like. 

The meeting included Office of Governor Ron DeSantis Director of Policy Chris Spencer, Florida Department of Education (DOE) Chief of Staff J. Alex Kelly, and Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis. 

They answered numerous questions about returning to school, many asking if masks would be required. 

"There are no requirements to wear a mask but we need to be supportive of those who will wear them because we know they are helpful," Kelly said.

Davis said they encourage students to wear masks but they will only be providing masks to teachers and staff mainly due to cost concerns.

"When you have more than 220,000 students, buying single-use masks for them would cost $9 million per month to do so," Davis said. 

The next question asked was about if schools would be properly cleaned. 

"We will have active plans to clean classrooms before and after students come in," Davis said.

He says while it's best practice to limit students movement between classrooms that's just not realistic. But they will have cleaning supplies ready.

"We have hand sanitizer in common areas, Lysol wipes in classrooms, soap and paper towels, you name it we are ready to go. The only issue is after about four months, there could be a supply chain problem for us to restock these supplies," Davis said. 

Spencer said they would try to help as many school districts as they could with supplies. 

But what about students and parents who still don't feel comfortable sending their kids to school? Or students who have health risks and can't go back to school yet? Hillsborough County schools says they have a plan for that too.

"We're going to offer not only brick and mortar learning but we will have virtual learning offered to all students as well for them to succeed," Davis said.

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