No lockers, one-way hallways, lunch at the end of the day when students return to Pinellas schools

Siblings will share a seat on the bus, signage will lead students through one-way hallways, and teachers will receive a COVID-19 supply kit for their classroom.

“We’re not asking or mandating them, in any way, to clean their classroom, but these supplies are given to them throughout the day,” said Clint Herbic, Pinellas County Schools’ associate superintendent of operational services.

At a school board meeting Tuesday in Pinellas County, Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego said Pinellas County schools have solidified their plans for cleaning and social distancing, now that they know about how many students will be coming back to the classrooms.

That includes, how many they expect to ride the bus.

“We put out a transportation survey to about 53,000 families and about 8,300 responded,” Grego said. “We learned it was split right about down the middle, 50-50, about who is going to ride the bus and who is not.”

Masks will be mandatory on buses and the seats will be wiped down in-between stops.

“We will make up seating charts and siblings, we will ask that you share seats so you brothers and sisters, we ask that you get along,” said Herbic.

And since all schools will be locker-free this year, the meeting addressed class changes. Students will have directional hallways and will be allowed a four-minute passing time.

The lunch period is not canceled, it’s just been moved.

“All of the high schools are moving their lunch to the end of the day,” said Kevin Hendrick, associate superintendent. “So the students will have their lunch at 1:30 or 1:20, but in the middle of the day, they’re building in a snack break. The buses won’t leave until the lunch period is over. No student is denied lunch at all, it’s just moved to the end of the day to bring about better health and safety, so students can spread out.”

Dr. Grego says at this time, surveys show more than 55% of students plan to return to their traditional school structure on August 24.