Editing: Bringing Lee County Students Back to School

Editor’s note: Chris Patricca represents District 3 on the Lee County School Board. The views expressed here and in all editorials are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Waterman Broadcasting or NBC2.

I am grateful to have received numerous communications from all stakeholders since the District announced its plan to reopen schools.

Families have four options:

  • Full-time, live instruction
  • Lee Home Connect – live, synchronous virtual guide
  • Lee Virtual School – module-based, self-paced virtual instruction
  • Education at home

Hundreds of families and District employees questioned safety measures, working conditions, the specifics of education, training, pay, budgeting, contact tracing options. , requiring quarantine and closing classrooms or schools. Our community will be commended for its active, thoughtful participation in this process.

Rest assured that the District is working hard, putting in place a communication plan that will address these questions and concerns. Short videos, a Facebook live event, a pager, podcasts and radio communication are just a few of the means that will be used to disseminate information.

The central theme will be agility, which will be the main focus of all considerations about reopening schools. We will continue to work closely with Lee Health and the Lee County Health Department. The district is constantly communicating with them, discussing the impact of changing COVID-19 conditions so we can make the safest decisions.

At the same time, agility is key to a successful reopening. We must ensure that we have the appropriate safety measures, equipment and supplies in place; that teachers and staff receive appropriate training; and that parents and students are appropriately prepared for whatever educational option they choose. This will take time.

While we’re confident we can get this done before the scheduled opening date of August 10, we’re also flexible enough to recognize that the opening date could be pushed back. Staff are working on alternative plans to push back our reopening date, if necessary.

Contingency has become a way of life. We experience them every day in our homes, at work, and in our lives. Something new seems to come to us every day that requires us to change the way we shop, travel, or go to church. Going back to school will require the same types of adjustments.

Whether you choose in-person or Lee Home Connect, teaching and learning will be different this school year. Whether you take the bus or join the parent pick-up stream, schools will not be the same. However, one thing is quite certain. The district will provide safe, rigorous, comprehensive educational programs for our students. With the support and involvement of the community, we’re going to have a great, albeit different, school year.

Chris Patricca, Lee County School Board District 3 Editing: Bringing Lee County Students Back to School

Tom Vazquez

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