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January 3, 2021

Safe IN School

By Laura Cross, Hillsborough County Schools

This year has been especially difficult for parents. We have all had to make tough decisions concerning our child’s health and safety, and ultimately the health and safety of our families and the community.

One of the biggest decisions was whether to send our children back to school or have them learn virtually. No one knew how COVID-19 would affect our schools.

Fast forward several months later, and we are very proud of the way our teachers, staff and students have created a safe and healthy environment in our schools.

Yes, there have been cases. Every day. The school district has been transparent about these cases on its COVID-19 dashboard. Schools are safe: Students and staff wear masks. Common areas are cleaned and there’s hand sanitizer on every corner. These measures have allowed our schools to provide face-to-face instruction and the social interaction that our students need.

Let’s talk more about that face-to-face instruction. There’s really no replacement for it. eLearning is great, and a lot of kids are thriving, but being in a classroom in front of a teacher is the best way to receive a successful education. There are also a lot of programs and activities that cannot be replicated in the eLearning format.

At Sumner and Freedom High Schools, we offer a Doggy Daycare program as part of our Veterinary studies. Students get hands on experience with live animals… Something that most students don’t receive until internships. “I’ve wanted to be a vet ever since I was a little girl,” said Alexis Alverez, a vet assisting student at Sumner High. “I feel like this will help me accomplish what I want to be.”

At Jefferson High School, students turn the classroom into a simulated work environment as part of the Virtual Enterprises International Program. Students fill organizational roles such as CEO and Human Resources Manager and serve as consumers for other VE businesses. The goal is to design and pitch a business plan to industry professionals.

And at Barrington Middle School, and other schools across our district, the study of Agriculture takes students out of the classroom and into the large outdoor area where they can help with livestock and grow their own vegetables. The hands-on and collaborative learning experiences are essential to a world-class education and something you just can’t get when you’re not physically in a school building.

This is just a sampling of the extraordinary programs offered in Hillsborough County Public Schools.

2020 has been hard for parents and, in extension, for children. Heading into 2021, the amazing teachers and staff in Hillsborough County Public Schools are making one decision a little less difficult for parents. We are thrilled to be welcoming thousands of our virtual students back into schools starting Jan. 19, second semester!

Don’t miss out!

Hillsborough County Public Schools – Safe, social, successful.

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