Escambia County School District tackles tough issues through uncertainty

Northwest Florida

Pensacola Fla. (WKRG) — Classes resumed for Escambia County schools last week. Like all schools
across the country that have struggled with COVID-19, the school district also
has had to deal with Hurricane Sally.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says its been a tough ride, but teachers and
staff have been responding strong and making use of what they have to work
with.

Thomas said, “didn’t know when this thing started that almost 50
percent of our students would choose not to come back into the building.”

Since the school year started, Escambia County Public Schools have
restricted any volunteers or mentors into their buildings.
But in the next few weeks, they will be revisiting these regulations.

“If the numbers stay as they are–I think there is a real possibility
to find a way to ease up on some of that,” says Thomas. “I don’t
think we will ever get back to whatever people consider normal is but I don’t
think we have to be as locked down as we are–if the numbers stay.”

Thomas said in some ways it has helped them limit the number of students–whether
that be on a bus or in the classroom.

On the other hand, they realize the best way to educate their students is
with in class learning. However, they know many factors play into parents’
decisions at this time.

“We don’t won’t a student to be stuck into a remote learning situation
failing because they aren’t able to keep up with the pace or the technology,”
said Thomas.

They have set up hotspots and provided Chromebooks, but they understand that
might not be enough for all their students.

Like any other school district rules are always changing and they will
continue to do the best they can.

“What we cannot do is blow an entire year of instruction for our
students. We must put these students in an engaging learning environment or
else this generation is going to suffer like no other generation before
them,” said Thomas.

They do expect more students back sooner rather than later, and Thomas says
the district has been able and made it their mission to keep all their staff on
employed.

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