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PBC School District to Survey Parents, Detail Opening Plans in July

Parents and students in should know what the school reopening plans are by the middle of July, Palm Beach Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy said on Wednesday.

The school district plans to survey every school parent, in order to obtain a sense of how many students could return to campuses when classes start again Aug. 10.

Fennoy announced at a school board meeting that the online survey will be sent this week to the families of the district’s 174,000 students.

It will also about topics including families’ comfort level in returning their students to school and using school buses.

The responses will then be considered by a committee of district officials that have been tasked with studying various reopening scenarios, according to a timeline that was presented to board members Wednesday.

The Reopening Task Force is scheduled to present various reopening options to district leaders on July 8. A formal announcement of the district’s reopening plans is then expected on July 15.

“Although this can feel like an uncertain time for all of us, I want to be clear we do know school will be in session in some form once the academic year begins,” Fennoy explains.

Superintendent Fennoy expects some students to stay away from campus when classes do start again. He says the district is expected to continue providing options for those students to learn online.

District spokeswoman Claudia Shea says the results of the survey will not dictate the reopening plans, but will instead be used to help administrators make more informed choices.

“It’s not going to guide our decision,” she adds. “We’re looking for information to help make our decision.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last month that schools resuming in-person classes reduce their class sizes enough to space students’ desks at least six feet apart.

The CDC also suggests that students and teachers use face coverings whenever possible, and that children stay with the same teacher all day.

This week, the state’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association, also called for schools to screen students and employees regularly for symptoms, to limit the number of students in classrooms and on buses in order to allow for physical separation, and to restrict students’ movement on campus.

Board members are scheduled to receive an update on the Palm Beach School District’s reopening plans at a public workshop on June 10.