DeLand, FL - Saying there's no substitute for a teacher in front of their students, Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz launched into the Fall 2020 reopening plan during Tuesday's (June 23) School Board meeting.
Fritz said that when the Governor came forward with his message that brick and mortar schools would reopen this Fall, the work in Volusia County by committee, got underway. Subcommittees worked on separate issues from on how to best follow social distancing guidelines to staggering classes to different approaches for different grade levels. The last two items were taken off the table.
Chief IT Officer for the school district, Clint Griffin said that obviously, we're going back to brick and mortar but we want to have the virtual option solidified in the background. A vendor is sanitizing and getting electronic devices ready to go back to the classroom. He's looking for ways to purchase more devices and making sure that all students can get connected. "We ordered hotspots. We have 850 hotspots in a mixture of providers. We also have made sure that we have wi-fi in parking lots at the minimum, high schools. So, if worst-case scenario, a student has to go drive up to a parking lot, download an assignment and upload an assignment, that option is also there."
Volusia Schools Chief Operating Officer Greg Akin headed up the subcommittee, which consisted of Florida Department of Health - Volusia, our own Volusia County Health Services, Food Services, Transportation, Safety, Purchasing, and our ABM consultant. ABM is the cleaning service for the schools. At the beginning of the pandemic in March. there were issues between the district and the custodial cleaning service. "We're looking at hand sanitizer stations and general locations in each one of the classrooms. I want to stress that ABM has assured us that soap and soap dispensers will be filled and extra soap will be available for each unit and they will be checked out daily."
The first day of school is scheduled for August 17 but that is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.