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Bay District Schools discusses 2020-2021 school year and virtual learning

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Bay District Schools made a decision Wednesday morning about students returning back to school for the 2020-2021 school year. District employees, parents, and others who have a stake in the school system took a survey designed to get feedback on the community’s preferences.

The two options included starting the school year in August as planned, or delay the start of the school year until after Labor day and continue school into mid-June.

Around 2,000 employees and 1,800 stakeholders submitted their responses.

“I think that it’s very obvious that everyone wants us to start school back on time with a regular schedule so that’s what we’re planning. We’re gonna move forward with that plan,” said Bill Husfelt, the district’s Superintendent.

Husfelt says as long as the decision can be made locally, school will start back up for students on August 11th.

The survey also asked whether or not employees and students plan on wearing masks upon returning.

“I really think a lot of students and employees are gonna want to wear masks. And it’s about 50%, its 50/50,” said Husfelt.

Husfelt said these numbers could change based on the future state of the pandemic. Students will also have the choice to continue learning virtually but there are stipulations.

“Once you go to that virtual school setting, we’re going to explain to parents, we need them to stay there for a semester,” said Husfelt.

Husfelt says students can decide to go virtual at any point in the semester, but once they make that choice, they must continue with it for the whole semester.

The district is also currently putting together a task force made up of stakeholders and medical professionals.

“They will look at how do we go about opening school up in August. What are the best things to do, how can we make everyone feel safe and secure,” said Husfelt.

As for the current school year, the district is recommending to teachers that no new assignments are to be assigned after May 18, giving students a week to catch up on classwork and improve their grades.


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