Based on district safety criteria, only 13 schools in Lee County will reopen on October 17 and 15 more are scheduled to open on October 18.
Last week, officials said the numbers could change as the process remains fluid and additional schools may be added to the list.
Meeting the nine criteria established by the Lee County School District beginning October 13, the district will reopen 11 elementary schools and two middle schools on October 17.
At press time, schools scheduled to reopen include Diplomat, Gulf, Trafalgar, Bonita Springs, Colonial, Franklin Park, Orange River, Orangewood, Three Oaks, Tice and Tropic Isles Elementary Schools, and Bonita Springs Middle. Fort Myers Center for the Arts and Intermediate Academy.
Schools scheduled to reopen Oct. 18 included Hancock Creek, Littleton, J. Colin English, Edison Park, James Stephens, Manatee, Pinewoods, Tanglewood and Villas Elementary, Three Oaks Middle and Ida Baker High School, Cypress Lake High, the Buckingham Exceptional Center and Royal Palm Exceptional Center.
“The district will provide daily updates of schools cleared to open and first day of class for students,” a district statement released Oct. 13 said. “Schools that are allowed to open will provide their families with more information about returning to school.”
Superintendent Dr. Christopher Bernier said reopening schools is a coalition of the willing.
“Our focus will not be calculus and physics. It will be about compassion, grace and sensitivity and determining what our needs are for our students. We cannot teach hungry children. We cannot teach children who do not feel safe,” he said.
Bernier said buildings may not look as good as they did before the storm because some ceiling tiles and baseboards are missing and drywall may not be finished. He said in some cases they have lost a lot of carpet and now the schools have bare floors which is acceptable.
“It will be fixed before school and in the evening. We are going to make progress on the construction on a daily basis”, he said.
Director of Studies Dr Jeff Spiro said there will be a staff reunification day before students return to school buildings so that staff see each other, hug and talk about their experience. Families will also have a family reunion day before the first day students return to school full time. It will give them the chance to see their teachers, to see new classrooms, if that’s the case.
The district has created a set of criteria that must be verified before a school is deemed ready to reopen. These measures include a reliable power supply, a safe supply of potable water, the building envelope sealed, indoor air quality assessed by an industrial hygienist, a functional HVAC system, fire alarms and intercom systems. , and school kitchens ready to reopen, along with debris removed or secured. Debris may not be completely removed from a campus, but placed in designated areas and out of danger for students.
Bernier said the building envelope seal ensures that windows, roofs and exterior walls are sealed, so they know they can keep water out of buildings if it does. is raining. The operation of fire alarms and intercom systems is a security feature, as he said schools need to be able to communicate in all classrooms safely and reliably.
When it comes to cooking, Bernier said schools need to be able to provide students with at least take-out meals.
Additionally, the school district ensures that debris is cleared at bus stops, so that students do not encounter any problems loading and unloading buses. Bus lines are also being run to ensure buses can return to the roads safely.
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Cupid-McCoy shared some options the district will experience as schools open.
The first concerns coeducational schools, as some schools were heavily damaged.
“We want to keep the schools, the school community together,” she says of the continuity of learning. “Schools that were together before Ian are staying together when possible. We had to take two primary schools and physically relocate them to a third primary school building. Due to the fact that some schools may be ready to open and some schools are combined, our opening dates will take rolling start dates. »
The combined schools are Fort Myers Beach Elementary School (80 students) and Sanibel School (289 students) sharing the physical structure with San Carlos Elementary School and its approximately 660 students. Students at Fort Myers Beach Elementary and The Sanibel School will be served by teachers and staff who previously worked at those schools.
This weekend, Sanibel Principal Jamie Reid confirmed that students will return to class at San Carlos Elementary School on October 20, with regular school hours from 7:55 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. open house is scheduled for October 19 from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fort Myers school to welcome families back to school.
Patriot Elementary School (781 enrolled) will partner with Skyline Elementary PreK-2 with 375 students. Pelican Elementary School (942 enrolled) will partner with third and fifth graders from Skyline Elementary School (507 enrolled).
Hancock Creek Elementary School (792 enrolled) will serve students from Hector Cafferata Kindergarten to Grade 2 students (375 enrolled). The district is looking for a local partner to accommodate the remaining Hector Cafferata students in grades three through five (350 enrolled).
The final students of Success Academy will be housed at Dunbar Community School.
All figures are pre-registration Ian. When ready, the schools that are in partnership will return to their original schools.
The goal is for the combined schools to return to school by October 19, along with Cypress Lake Middle School, Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, Early Years (Infant/Toddler) at James Stephens and Early Childhood/Good Start.
The goal is to return Diplomat Middle School and Lexington Middle School students to their physical building by Oct. 31.
For these students, they will participate in Florida Virtual School FLEX. It will include a minimum 14-day enrollment, with staff providing instruction after receiving eight to 10 hours of training.
“These students will participate in Florida Virtual FLEX where they can experience authentic instruction while the physical building is being restored. We think this is important as we think of the entire school family in the school district,” says Cupid-McCoy. “We want to minimize the number of students who are not engaged in some form of teaching.”
The young parent education program will also participate in FLEX.