Manatee County plan for students' return includes masks, temperature checks

These are uncertain times for school districts across Florida as they prepare to welcome students back to the classroom this fall. 

"There's no playbook. We haven’t done it before, but I’m certain we will all get through it together," said Superintendent Cynthia Saunders. 

Saunders said things will certainly be different. Plans, which are still being finalized, call for full-time, in-person classes for kindergarten through sixth grade. 

Seventh grade and up will likely have a hybrid mix of in person classes and e-learning. 

The school board recently surveyed more than 18,000 parents and found most were in favor of in-person classes. 

"If we have one child that is sick and effected by this it effects us all," offered Dina Howell, who was among those who weighed in. 

Howell is a parent, but she also works for the Manatee County School District. She has a concern. 

"I didn’t want to be responsible for anybody else becoming sick. As a parent I had to get past what I thought was best for my daughter," she said. 

Temperature checks for students and multiple cleanings of busses and classrooms are among the proposed changes, along with a facemask requirement for teachers, students and visitors inside school buildings. 

"We need consistency, clarity, protection for our employees, people getting onto our campus," said the vice-chair of the board, Charlie Kennedy. 

Students who get sick would be isolated until their parents could pick them up. In the event of an outbreak, the school would be shut down and child care options would be offered. 

Parents have a final chance to weigh in on the proposals on July 9; the school board will vote on July 14th.  

Students are expected to go back to school on August 10.

"We need to decide whatever is decided that we are all on board and we all support it, because that’s important for our schools because they have to enforce whatever it is," said Gina Messenger, the chairwoman of the school board.