PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WMBB) — With about 20 percent of students, staff, and faculty out of school due to COVID, Gulf District Schools Superintendent Jim Norton decided it would be best to take a break.
“They’re teaching to some kids that have been here every day and other kids that have missed 10 or 12 days. You know, this creates, if nothing else, a stop-gap measure for the teachers to let everybody catch up,” said Norton.
On Tuesday, Norton informed all Gulf District School employees and students they would close until after Labor Day.
Norton said the school board had been working with the health department to make the safest and smartest decision.
“It’s just a matter of when peak COVID hits a district, and for us, it seems to be this week,” said Norton.
One of the leading factors in the school closure had to do with support staff being out.
“We can’t just grab somebody to drive a bus. We can’t just grab four other people to go and prepare a meal in the school,” said Norton.
While all Gulf District Schools will be closed, extracurriculars like sports will still be in action.
The superintendent said that he wanted kids that are healthy to stay active.
“If somebody’s capable of living, I’m not going to confine them to, you know, being shut away. If kids want to come out here and do their things, you know, if they’re physically able to and they’re healthy, I encourage them to do it,” said Norton.
Abby Evans, a senior at Port St. Joe, said she’s glad her team got to keep competing.
“I’m excited. It helps like get back to, you know, normal again, I guess. It’s just nice to have that whole day out. It’s just a good precaution also to be out and then have to come back and play,” said Evans, Port St. Joe volleyball player.