Pinellas Schools move forward with virtual and in-person reopening

Pinellas County Schools education coronavirus

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On Tuesday, the Pinellas County School Board held an in-person workshop to review reopening plans.

The district is set to welcome students back to in-person learning on August 24.

Hillsborough County might want to keep students out of schools until September, but across the bay in Pinellas, students will be welcomed back to the classroom when the fall semester starts in just under two weeks, albeit with a new sense of normal.

According to county officials who discussed reopening plans with school board members Tuesday, face masks, shields, plexiglass barriers and even scrubs might be regular sights.

The district is offering students three options for returning to school, traditional learning, and simultaneous remote instruction through my pcs online and the self-paced Pinellas virtual school.

Masks are to be required in school and on busses, plexiglass barriers will appear on many desks and lunch tables and scrubs will be optional for any teacher. Kindergarten teachers and those teaching special needs students can get the cost of scrubs reimbursed by the district.

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael Grego said principals have been working hard to implement best-practice safety measures and that plenty more work was to be done as the first day of school nears.

Among the most drastic changes to school setups will be reduced class sizes.

According to the district’s current guidelines, in-person class size will be limited to 15 for grades K-3, 18 for 4-5 and 20 for 6 through 12.

My PCS Online classes will be limited to 28 students for grades k-3, 32 for 4-8 and 35 for 9-12.

Principals in Pinellas County have spent the last few weeks working to rearrange school schedules to accommodate the changes. While many classes will involve simultaneous teaching between in-person and virtual students, principals have worked to keep as many classrooms virtual or in-person-only as possible.

Pinellas Park High School Principal Brett Patterson told board members he hopes the move makes things simpler for teachers and students.

School Board member Nicole Carr praised school administrators for their ability to adapt to ever-changing rules and craft plans to allow in-person reopening.

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