The Hillsborough County School Board voted unanimously Thursday to delay the start of school by two weeks, moving the first day of school from Aug. 10 to Aug. 24.
More than 20 people spoke at public comment, including teachers who expressed the need to delay the opening of brick-and-mortar schools and continue with e-Learning for at least the first nine weeks of the school year.
“This is not a proud moment as I stand here,” said Hillsborough County educator Angie Snow at the meeting. “First-nine online is what we need to be looking at … As a parent I can feel confident, as a teacher I can feel confident, and I can know I’m not going to be reading about my own colleagues in the obituary papers.”
In a survey released within the Hillsborough County school reopening plan, just a little more than half of the 52,883 parents surveyed — 52.7% — said they were comfortable with returning to traditional, in-person schooling.
The online survey was also given to staff, and of the 9,245 staff surveyed, 4,807 — 51.9% — said they were comfortable with reopening face-to-face schools.
Plans to reopen schools became mandatory in Florida after Education Commission Richard Corcoran ordered each school district to provide parents the option to send children to traditional, brick-and-mortar schools five days a week.
The order sparked backlash from teachers across the state who are not yet comfortable going back to school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hillsborough County parents have three options on how they want their students to start the school year: traditional brick-and-mortar schooling, an e-Learning hybrid model or Hillsborough County Virtual School. The parents were made to decide by July 10.
The Hillsborough County school year is still scheduled to end on May 28.