Superintendent: Next school year, e-learning will remain an option for Hillsborough County students

Parents in Hillsborough County have a better idea of the school district's reopening plan for the upcoming school year after Superintendent Addison Davis provided his recommendations for different scenarios, based on the spread of the coronavirus. 

Tuesday morning, school officials stressed that while they may be discussing ideas of what the school year will look like, they will not select one specific model "because we are on a different model every single day."

"This is going to be a fluid decision," Davis said during the beginning of the meeting, saying there are three models officials are looking at, including a blended option of e-learning and face-to-face instruction. However, virtual learning will remain available for students.

During the superintendent's presentation, he proposed the three plans, labeled A, B, and C.

"A" would be a traditional model where schools are open with a low-perceived risk for spread of the virus. "B" is a hybrid-rotation, and "C" is e-learning if schools are closed. 

Option "B" reduces on-campus attendance by about 50% each day. Mass gatherings like assemblies and pep rallies will be limited across all proposed models.

If there is a coronavirus case at a school, Davis said the district will determine the next step on a case-by-case basis. That person will be removed from the classroom and place in an isolated space.A rapid response team will be sent for deep cleaning.

"We will never shut down the school district at the scale" unless state officials call for it, Davis said.

Superintendent Davis has already revealed where the district stands with certain issues. In a meeting last week, he said temperature checks will not be conducted before students enter the building. He said it’s unreasonable as students would be crowded together as they waited to get inside.

“You will create an unintended consequence, and you would openly look like TSA with everyone standing outside trying to have access to your schools. We just can’t do it, we would spend hours [on it],” said Davis. 

Instead of temperature checks, verbal checks of how the student is doing will be performed when the student gets to school, asking them if they feel sick.

RELATED: Hillsborough superintendent: Masks will not be required for anyone in schools

Davis has said that there will be a supply of hand sanitizer and wipes at all times all around their buildings. They’re also working to figure out how to incorporate hygiene and hand-washing into the daily classroom setting.

As for masks, Davis said face coverings will be supplied for students who are riding the bus. The district is also in the process of ordering about 25,000 masks for their employees, but the superintendent says buying masks for every single child in their school district just won’t be possible.  

“When you have 220,000 students, for us to buy single-day, single-use masks for our children, it would cost us $9 million a month to do so,” said Davis. 

Instead, three reusable masks will be provided to all students. Face coverings are encouraged but not required.

He’s encouraging parents to make sure their child is protected.

PREVIOUS: In survey, Hillsborough parents are split on their children returning to campus in the fall

Another thing that’s played a major role in developing the superintendent’s plan is the feedback from the parents.

Earlier this summer, Davis sent out a survey asking parents to respond with how comfortable they would be sending their child back to school setting. The results of that survey were as follows:

Not Comfortable - 23%
Somewhat uncomfortable - 21%
Comfortable - 13%
Somewhat comfortable - 15%
Very comfortable - 25%

The survey also asked parents how they felt about possibly continuing virtual learning.  The results of that survey showed that 48% of parents did not want online learning to continue, 29% said they were undecided, with 21% of parents saying it’s what they wanted. 

Another survey will be coming out asking parents to select an option within the chosen models. Superintendent Davis says it will be out by July 1 and needs to be completed by July 10. 

The first day of school begins August 10 in Hillsborough County.