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GAINESVILLE - During a special meeting/workshop July 15, the School Board of Alachua County voted to push back the first day of school for students to Aug. 24. That two-week delay will allow for more preparation and planning before school begins. The Board’s vote included additional training days for teachers and staff.

The other item the School Board approved during the meeting was a mandatory mask policy. With limited exceptions, mainly for medical issues, students and staff will be required to wear masks at schools and on school buses.

Under a state order issued last week, all Florida public schools must reopen in person five days a week in August. Florida districts must also submit reopening plans that meet state requirements to the Florida Department of Education for approval. Those plans are due July 31 and must include an estimate of the number of students who plan to attend school online.

Under the district’s reopening plan, local families will have three options for instruction this fall. They include the traditional, brick-and-mortar option requirement mandated by the state and two online options—a Digital Academy and the Alachua eSchool. Families are being asked to choose the option they prefer by 11:59 p.m. on July 19.

More information about the three options, the Choose Your School Option form and a Frequently Asked Questions document that answers many of the most commonly-asked questions about the proposed return to school is available on the district’s website at: https://www.sbac.edu/Page/29815

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