Citrus County School Board Delays Start Dates, Mandates Masks

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During an emergency meeting on Wednedsay, July 22, discussing the 2020-21 school year, the Citrus County School Board approved a mandated mask-wearing measure and significant calendar changes — including a postponed start date.

Education officials postponed students’ first day of school from Aug. 10 to Aug. 20. Teachers will return Aug. 3-4 and Aug. 11-29 for training and classroom prep.

“This is not going to be a normal school year,” Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel said.

When Citrus County School District opened its enrollment for its Citrus Virtual School in mid-June — the alternative to on-campus instruction for the 2020-21 school year in Citrus County — administrators estimated between 300 and 700 students would register.

After the enrollment deadline ended on July 20, roughly 2,500 students or 15% of district students had registered.

Citrus Virtual School requires a semester commitment by students and will be taught by local district teachers using Florida Virtual School curriculum. With more students wanting to be taught online, accessibility and ease of use for both students and teachers is a priority of the school district.

The board also discussed fall sports logistics. Himmel said there are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to maintaining social distancing for team sports — the social distancing regulations will be hard to maintain for fall team sports like volleyball and football. Therefore, the board decided to delay fall sports, including football, until Aug. 24.

About Isabella Witkowich

Isabella is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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