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Mask breaks, eLearning, switching classrooms and more addressed in Hillsborough Schools town hall

Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis hosted a virtual town hall Tuesday morning answering questions submitted by the public.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — After a successful virtual town hall Monday evening, Hillsborough County Public Schools decided to host another Tuesday morning.

Superintendent Addison Davis, along with district leaders, answered question after question from various stakeholders which included parents, teachers and other staff members.

People could submit questions ahead of time or in real-time and vote on which questions leaders answered first, ensuring the most common questions were addressed.

RELATED: Here are the reopening plans for Tampa Bay school districts

Here are some of the questions and answers from Tuesday's town hall.

Q: Why are we not just starting with eLearning like all of the other hot spot districts in Florida for the first nine weeks?

Superintendent Davis: Hillsborough County is in Phase Two. Palm Beach, Broward County, Miami-Dade are in Phase One which is identified by Tallahassee and the Department of Health. Even though we have numbers that match Palm Beach, we are identified as Phase Two in Hillsborough County. The emergency order has been very clear. We must open five days a week, brick and mortar for students and parents and those who desire to put their students in that situation therefore we do not have the luxury to do so.

Q: Will students be traveling to music, art and PE? Or will the teachers come to them?

Deputy Superintendent Conner: While it may not be at every school at every grade level, we are going to try our best and ensure based on the scheduling of each school, to have teachers travel to the classrooms versus students traveling to the teacher.

Q: At what point would the district go to a full eLearning model?

Superintendent Davis: If we transition back to Phase One, which is the stay-at-home order, then we will openly go to full-fledged transition to eLearning.

Q: Can you please go into detail about students wearing masks to school? Are they required all day even in the classroom, while sitting at their desks, etc.?

Superintendent Davis: We know we’re going to have to take time to potentially go outside for mask breaks but if we are in a situation where students do not have exemptions and they are socially distanced, they are six feet away then we will allow them to potentially remove it but I will tell you we will work diligently in our classrooms to create that structure.

Q: If the school start date is delayed two weeks, how will we make up those days? Will we lose early release Mondays, Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Fair Day, etc…?

Superintendent Davis: We worked with the calendar committee yesterday to identify proactive steps to protect Thanksgiving break, as many early releases as we can, protect winter break, Fair Day... as many as we can so children can have a robust experience. The reality is we’re going to have to make some modifications in order to fulfill the days that we could potentially miss with putting the school year back.

As of July 20th, Hillsborough County Schools had received 110,418 responses from parents about their chosen learning model for their children. The breakdown so far is:

On-site learning: 54,446 (49.31%)

eLearning: 46,308 (41.94%)

Virtual: 9,664 (8.75%)

The district has roughly 225,000 students meaning more than half did not respond by the deadline. The district is assuming those that didn't respond want on-site learning but principals are calling families to confirm that choice.

Hillsborough County Schools is also surveying teachers and will try their best to accommodate teacher preferences as well.

You can watch the entire Hillsborough County Public Schools Virtual Town Hall here:

Hillsborough County Schools meeting

Hillsborough County Schools meeting BACK TO SCHOOL: Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis is holding a virtual town hall to answer questions about the upcoming school year. 10tampabay.com

Posted by 10 Tampa Bay on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

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