TALLAHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) — At the first face-to-face school board meeting in months, Leon County Schools board members voted unanimously to delay the fall semester start-date to August 31.
Alva Striplin made the motion to delay reopening until August 31, citing unrest and uneasiness from principals, teachers, and communities, including the two recent deaths due to COVID-19 within the Leon County School District.
According to officials, a later start-date could cause a delay in employee payroll and health insurance coverage as well as teacher-in-service days, etc.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna said the delay would be approved if the payroll department can ensure teacher's salaries are not disrupted.
"If the board wants to allow more time we will make it happen," said Hanna.
The plan does not need to be resubmitted to the Florida Department of Education for approval, as the original approved plan stated: "in-person classes would resume on August 24, or another date to be determined."
"This will give us some much needed additional runway to fully equip our young people," said Daryl Jones, a LCS board member.
Board member Joy Bowen said this delay shows the community the care and concern the board has for them and desire to accommodate.
"We cannot overlook the clear voice of our faculty and their concerns," Jones said.
The district has not altered its plans for social distancing or its mask mandate.
"The mask policy is the same as recommended by the Center for Disease Control," Hanna said. "When inside or on the bus, masks are absolutely required. When on the playground they can have a little break."
Students, faculty, staff who contract COVID-19 may not return without a letter from their doctor or the Florida Department of Health clearing them.
The board also said a seven-person LCS COVID Response Team will be developed.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend presented data of food insecurity for children in the county. It is up to 30 percent from pre -coronavirus numbers, averaging around 22 to 30 percent.
A shipment of 30,000 devices has been delayed and won’t arrive before the expected start of the school year.
More classes have been made available for Digital Academies.
This is a developing story.