A plan to reopen Polk public schools in August will be presented to School Board members in a virtual work session at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Here is an overview of the meeting as well as a report summarizing the recommendations for reopening:

  • What: Polk School Board work session on reopening schools with coronavirus precautions
  • When: 9 a.m. Tuesday
  • Where: Online
  • Watch live on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrMNMLShuRo
  • Watch live on cable: Comcast Channel 7, Frontier Channel 45, Spectrum Channel 642.
  • Who: Polk County Public Schools Reopening Task Force will present to the Polk County School Board. Special guests: Drs. Kenneth Alexander and Adriana Cadilla, infectious disease experts with Nemours Children’s Hospital.
  • Plan summary: View it here or at the end of this article.
  • More information: Background info and video of previous meetings can be seen at the PCPS Reopening page.

The task force recommends three options:

  • Campus learning for preK-12 at brick-and-mortar schools. Masks would be required and social distancing would be practiced when feasible. Health screening would be put in place for students, faculty and staff; only essential visitors would be allowed on campus.
  • Campus eSchool for K-12 that would enable online learning tied to the student’s zoned, choice or magnet school. Parents would serve as learning coaches.
  • Polk Virtual School for K-12 follows curricula from Florida Virtual School “and other vendors.” More info

If conditions become unsafe for campus learning, the school system plans to pivot to the Campus eSchool model for distance learning.

Enhanced cleaning procedures are envisioned for schools and buses. Students would be required to wear masks on buses, enter from the rear of the bus and sit in assigned seats.

The meal recommendations include grab-and-go service for older students, food-delivery models for younger students, and seeking to limit cafeteria seating to 50% by using classrooms and outdoor spaces for some students.

The recommendation for classroom setup: “Arrange desks so students are separated by one another by 6 feet when feasible. If it is not possible to arrange seating 6 feet apart, consider having all students sit facing the same direction.”

The school district plans to submit its plan for reopening to the Florida Department of Education by July 31.

Here is an overview of the reopening plan that School Board members will discuss:

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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  1. Schools need to be back in session kids need teachers help with assignments plus social with other kids it doesn’t matter if they are social distancing. But also the opening date should be after Labor day considering that we been ordered to wear mask for only 2 short weeks this allow time to see if the numbers drop or not.

  2. Nadia Blake
    Who determines if is is safe to open full time in brick and mortar and when it is no longer safe to do so?

    1. I’m not an expert, but it seems to me it would need to come from the governor of the Polk County School Board.

  3. What about the kids with sensory issues and special needs who cant/wont wear the masks bc of triggers?

    1. There’s a provision for medical exemptions. The overview doesn’t define medical exemptions.

  4. I was a first grade teacher just recently (retired in 2018). Your child will not be protected as described. Case and point: If they ride a bus, the bus driver cannot assure you that every child will keep his or her mask on, keep hands to his/her self, stay in seats while bus is moving. That is the first example, and your child isn’t at school, het. Your child has to make it from the time he/she leaves home until he/she arrives back home depending on some one other than Mom or Dad for protection. Do you honestly think that your child is going to be perfectly safe while away from your care for approximately 8 hours a day????

  5. I think you need to do what’s best for the students but I also don’t wanna put my kids in danger with the numbers rising … as much as I want them to return to school their safety comes first

  6. I think it’s too soon to be sending our kids back to public school the numbers have been going up, and they keep on saying how children don’t catch it as often as adults? But who’s to say somewhere down the road the kids who didn’t catch it the same way as the adults did not catch it in some other form that we just didn’t recognize. We are able to have zoom meetings with companies and see each other and interact very well that’s what the schools need to do when it comes to teaching with the teachers that way they will learn because the teachers their life on the screen with them

  7. Schools need to remain closed.. Our state is at epicenter levels. Higher now than before when we closed schools so was sense would it make to open now… No ideal how the parents have been social distancing their children since schools been out, u risk bringing possibly infected children into the schools which could very likely to asymptomatic and not even know they are sick. Which in turn could infect other students and also the much older teachers, janitors, lunch room personal and so on. And its these older people which may have the underlying issues as well. Such as diabetes, asthma, and so on. Its simply not worth the risk. Our governor opened our state to early.. Is continuing to allow travel in and out of our state even tho cases are exploding more now than ever.. If we ever have a chance for this to even slow time we need to react now!

  8. I feel that if each desk has a 3 sided acrylic separator, similar to those used for cashiers in store, would help with the lack of social distancing in addition to wearing masks. This would also cause the school board to revisit classroom size going forward. Having students face one direction is fine but everyone from the except the back moving on to the front are breathing forward even with the masks. A three sided “screen” prevents that.

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