Tampa area school district moves to e-learning for the first four weeks of school year


(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

TAMPA (News Nation/WFLA) — The eighth largest school in the country has voted to start the school year with four weeks of e-learning before reassessing whether or not students will get back into the classroom in September, the Tampa area district decided Thursday.

The Hillsborough County School district encompasses the greater Tampa Bay area and has more than 200,000 students and 25,000 staff members, per the US Department of Education.

Through the proposed e-learning, students will attend school online during regular school hours and follow a standard school schedule. Teachers will provide “live” instruction each day, delivering lessons through the online learning platform Canvas. Depending on the content, after the initial “live” instruction, students may transition to independent work, collaborative group work and/or asynchronous learning.

The school board reconvenes Sept. 8 to review the status of the coronavirus and discuss the next steps for later in the fall.

The district had already pushed the school year start date back by two weeks. The school district’s superintendent said that no decision is important because of the changing state of coronavirus.

“At this point, I think everything’s on the table. Everything is up for discussion,” said Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis. “And my job, I got some homework from the board to be able to bring back some information so I’ve been meeting with medical experts along the way and from our past media in order to provide informed analytics to the board so that they can make a decision in the best interest of our children in the community.”

Earlier this summer, Davis said masks will be required for staff and students who return for in-person classes. At the time the district said they would provide three reusable masks to students and staff on the first day of school.

Chicago Public Schools announced the district will begin the school year with full remote learning Wednesday.

Los Angeles Unified School decided against reopening later this month for in-person learning. New York City has announced a plan to do hybrid instruction, where students would be in school buildings in small groups on some days of the week but would learn remotely from home on other days.

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