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Bay District Schools approves reopening plan, masks required on campus when social distancing isn’t possible

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 11:05 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

At the Bay District Schools board meeting Tuesday, board members voted to approve the school reopening plan, moving students back to brick-and-mortar campuses if they so choose.

One major change to the school year is following the CDC recommendations on masks.

“Right now the CDC guidelines mandate all students and teachers have face masks if they cannot social distance,” said School Board Chairman Steve Moss.

District officials say the face masks or coverings, which can be provided by the district, will be necessary on campus and on buses but only where social distancing isn’t possible.

“If they’re outdoors, again P.E., or if they have an outdoor classroom, then we would encourage them that’s your opportunity to not have that mask on because then you can social distance,” said Moss.

They will also make exceptions for those who cannot wear masks for health reasons or otherwise, but officials say it will be a major change.

“Are my two students going to like wearing a face mask? No, they’re not,” said Moss. “But if I tell them the health experts say that is what is best to keep you safe I think they’ll understand and hopefully, our parents understand that as well.”

School leaders say they will only move to a hybrid schedule if told to do so, otherwise, it will stay the same.

“If Tallahassee, the Department of Education, or the County Health Department says things have gotten so bad you have to go to that hybrid model, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Moss. “Students would go Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday kind of a staggered schedule.”

Officials are also working on bringing rapid coronavirus testing to all campuses for students and staff.

“That would be available through our telehealth clinics that we have on several campuses right now,” said Director of Student Services Kara Mulkusky. “We’re working to expand the remaining campuses and also get a telehealth clinic.”

For those who don’t want to go back to a brick and mortar school, Bay Virtual School and homeschool options are available.

For a full look at the reopening plan click here and scroll to page 68 in the Board Book or page 79 in the PDF.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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