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Hillsborough County Public Schools Considers Delaying Start Date By 2 Weeks


UPDATE: CW44 News at 10 received an update from Hillsborough County schools hours after the meeting took place. Superintendent Addison Davis plans to recommend to the school board to delay the start of the 2020 - 2021 school year by two weeks beginning August 24th, 2020.

During the Florida Board of Education's meeting Wednesday morning Governor Ron DeSantis made his appearance in Hillsborough County to stress one thing: "I'm confident it can be done," said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

He has a tunnel vision focus on reopening schools, safely, come August. "Were in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic, but were also in a situation where we need to provide as many options to parents as possible," said DeSantis.

State Board of Education officials listened as Governor DeSantis pointed to data suggesting those under the age of eighteen have shown to be at a lower risk of contracting the virus compared to adults.

"I am really amazed at the extent to which people under 18 are low risk for this," said DeSantis. He also put the decision up against that of keeping daycares open during the pandemic. "Even though we went to distance learning with the K-12, we never closed daycares. There was never a government mandate at the state level," said DeSantis. "The best interest of the child is obviously paramount, but we also understand that there are a lot of adults who are working in our school system and I think it's paramount that there's a safe environment."

State education officials pointed to the executive order released on July 6th, stating it gives complete flexibility for parents to make their own decision ahead of the upcoming academic year.

"I want everybody who's watching this to know, we don't have a playbook, so we are writing it every single day along the way, and we're going to get better every day. But we have to be flexible and we have to be able to create innovative educational models to serve our children," said Addison Davis, Hillsborough County Superintendent. A move Governor DeSantis also supports. "I think it's important that parents have the ability to make a choice. If they're not comfortable, the last thing you want to do is shove people in if they're just not comfortable," said DeSantis.

Superintendent Davis is expected to present the 3rd step of the plan to the school board Thursday at 1pm.

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