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Leon County parents hope later school start-date decreases safety concerns

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 18:39:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Parents in Leon County have a little more time to prepare their children for school's reopening after Leon County School Board Members voted Tuesday night to push the start date to August 31.

One Leon County guardian says it's not about the day school returns, but the plans in place to keep everyone safe and she's keeping her eyes peeled to see the new developments between now and the first day of school.

"We should be able to go back to the classrooms," said Aisha Muhammad, a Leon County parent. "But we need to know is it safe? what's going to happen? They have to have a plan."

There's a lot on the school district's plate, like equipping each student with technology, thinking of ways to avoid the spread of COVID-19, and even what recess looks like.

Leon County Schools now has a month to figure out that plan.

"My understanding of the legal interpretation of the commissioner's emergency order is that if we start brick and mortar by the end of August, then we'll be eligible for our typical FTE, our typical funding, even in a blended model," said DeeDee Rasmusen, the chair of the Leon County School Board.

Rasmussen believes this is the final start date but warns parents to be prepared.

"The only thing I know about this pandemic is change is constant," Rasmusen said. "If we have a hurricane or we have an uptick int hospitalization rate for COVID."

Now, parents are worrying if their children and their children's teachers will be protected by the start of the school year.

In an effort to keep the students out of the hospital, the school is working with medical professionals to receive more informed guidance on the next steps.

One key focus is giving them time to take a break from wearing the masks in school.

"Our students and our teachers deserve to have that readily available medical expertise on a consistent basis," said Rasmusen.

Dr. David Robinson at Tallahassee Memorial says masks are necessary, but those breaks are acceptable if done right.

"I don't know about you but it's awfully hard for me to wear a mask all day when I'm at work," Robinson said. "It's just being realistic. I just hope they can maintain the social distance when they take the break."

Leon County's School Board now has a team of medical professionals working to make sure those decisions are made with the guidance of a medical professional.