Serving Every Student with Excellence as the Standard

Educational Services Facility

10:00 a.m.

August 11, 2020 Board Work Session (School Reopening Metrics and Emergency Rule Policy Discussion)

The School Board continues to modify its meeting protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.  Limited public attendance will be on a  first come, first served basis until capacity is reached including Board members and necessary staff. The workshop will be streamed live through normal channels for offsite viewing in real time. All attendees are required to wear a face covering .


The School Board met in a Board Work Session to discuss school reopening metrics and the emergency rule policy on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at the Educational Services Facility.  Notice of the meeting was advertised in the the Tuesday, August 4, 2020 edition of Florida Today.  An affidavit of publishing is available in the Board Office.


Opening Exercises
1. Opening Exercises

Acting Chairman Matt Susin called the meeting to order at: 10:08 a.m.  


Chairman Belford joined telephonically as she was unavoidably delayed. She arrived in person at: 10:32 s.m. and took over as chair.


Roll Call
2. Roll Call

Members Present:  Misty Belford, Cheryl McDougall, Tina Descovich, Matt Susin and Katye Campbell


Misty Belford was present telephonically until 10:32 a.m. at which point she joined in-person.


Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Acting Chairman Susin led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
Order of Business
4. School Reopening Metrics

Maria Stahl, Bruce Pierce and John Davis from the Department of Health provided some updated trends of virus positivity since the last meeting.  Ms. Stahl  stressed for persons to stay home when sick, to sanitize hands and high touch surfaces, and wear masks when social distancing cannot be maintained.  Mr. Pierce said that teens and adults seem to be the major spreaders of the COVID-19 virus. He said that masks do work and if we continue to do what we are supposed to do, we should do well.


Questions from Board members ranged from positivity rates to rolling averages to when testing sites were closed during the threat of the hurricane. Ms. Campbell provided Board members some data she had extrapolated from statistics she found on the Department of Health website which she felt showed the positivity trends.  


There was some discussion on duplicate negative test results as well as length of time to receive test results.  Mr. Susin had questions about hospital and ICU beds available.  Ms. Belford asked about free testing opportunities.  She asked about the number of children being tested in the north part of the county as compared to the south area.  Ms. Stahl said that they keep data from the county, not by specific area.


Ms. Campbell asked about letters that went to persons who attended graduations where one of the attendees was found to test positive and everyone was told to quarantine for fourteen days even though they may not have been in contact with the person who tested positive. She asked if there was a better way to go about this kind of communication? Chris Moore, assistant superintendent of Student Services, stated that when schools are back in session, they will have a better idea of whether to quarantine certain classrooms, certain wings or entire schools.


Mr. Susin expressed angst about establishing metrics based on tests since the numbers are so fluid. He said they should be looking at all of the numbers.  He said that before the Board makes a determination; they need to form a mini "group" made up of health care administrators.  He asked if they are we going to be closing schools on the effect it has on the community or the effect it has on our students? 


Ms. Campbell asked to what end are we establishing metrics. There are some students who cannot be served unless it is in a classroom setting. Additionally, funding is different for virtual school which could mean loss of jobs and letting people go. Dr. Mullins commented that in addition to a loss of funding, there are also subscription fee costs associated with virtual learning platforms.  


Ms. Belford was incensed by the edict from the Governor and the Commissioner taking away options for the district.  By having those options, the district could  address the social, emotional, and delivery of instruction concerns  by offering virtual and hybrid models as well as face to face instruction when in the best interest of the student.  She continued that the bottom line is that even if we do a phenomenal job of masking, social distancing and hygiene efforts in a school setting, we can not mitigate what happens in our community which is going to impact schools in a big way. The community transmission number is incredibly important.  She has spoken to medical professionals all across the country and everyone of them says that schools should not  reopen if the positivity rate is over 5%.  We cannot run schools without teachers and adolecents are susceptible to spread it to teachers. Ms. Belford expressed concern about the double counting of negative COVID results and feels like they are being bullied by the state at the cost over health and safety vs the economy.  


Ms. Campbell explained that while she heard what Ms. Belford was saying; she cautioned that we need to be very specific in the math.  She stated that the economy also effects the health and welfare of our citizenry. 


Ms. Belford thanked Ms. Campbell for her comments. She said that she too believes the economy is important; but it is imporatnt to consider that some of the students who need to be in school are at high risk for exposure due to COVID. She feels the state should give them the flexibility to best serve our most vulnerable students/families while realizing these students and their families will be the ones hit hardest from exposure. 


After some more discussion; Board members did not establish metrics  for school closure. However, everyone did agree that Mr. Susin's idea to have a group of local healthcare professionals come together to weigh in was a good idea.  Mr. Susin thought the group should be the heads of the hospitals, local pediatrician and other healthcare administration leaders.  Chairman Belford felt that there should be an initial meeting/workshop with these individuals and decide where to proceed following that first meeting.  Dr. Mullins will work toward getting a meeting with the suggested individuals.




5. Emergency Rule Policy Regarding Face Coverings
Mask Policy - R8-7-2020 - Clean.pdf

Board members had discussion and asked questions about the emergency policy that Mr. Gibbs had provided them.  Members came to consensus to amend the recommendation on the August 11, 2020 School Board meeting agenda with the recommendation reading:

Approve the recommended emergency policy authorizing the Superintendent to require face coverings consistent with the policy effective August 11, 2020 to remain in effect for 90 days unless extended pursuant to Section 120.54(4) Florida Statutes and amended per the following:


Remove the policy numbers at the top


In Section 2: add “an IEP and 504 exception that removes the mask requirement based upon documentation that has been provided during the IEP and 504 process.”




In Section 2: Remove supervisor approval for employees if they are maintaining social distancing defined as six feet.




In Section 4: Change facullty are encouraged to use face shields to faculty are allowed to use face shields…



Closing Remarks
6. Closing Remarks/Direction
7. Adjournment

Chairman Belford adjourned the work session at: 12:36 p.m.

For further details of this meeting, please refer to the published video on 

Chairman: ______________________________________ Secretary: ______________________________________
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