Hillsborough County teachers and staff return to work ahead of school year

Teachers and staff in Hillsborough County returned to work Friday to get ready for the upcoming school year.

As it stands, the school district is set to reopen on Monday, August 24 -- two weeks later than originally scheduled. Superintendent Addison Davis said he expects the school board to discuss the idea of starting the year with a nine-week virtual learning period for all students. 

If so, it would go against his reopening plan. It may also violate the Education Commissioner's emergency order, requiring all schools to reopen this fall or face funding cuts. 

Davis said he's been reaching out to the Department of Education about the possible change. 

"If asked, if the school board decides and this is the measure and the stance that we're going to go, then please hold children harmless financially," he said. "And that is what I continue to ask."

As the district learned last year, going completely virtual is expensive.  School officials ended up with a budget shortfall after spending money on items, such as take-home computers for students who didn't have their own.

The school district also faces the added expenses of providing masks and buying more cleaning supplies and thermometers.