The Santa Rosa County School District next week will begin feeding students at several locations. The students were to return to school Monday, following this week’s spring break. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered schools to be closed until April 15 and that students should be educated remotely.
Before students resume classes from home, the district will begin feeding the district’s 30,000 students, superintendent Tim Wyrosdick explained. Drive-thru meal pickup will be available at Milton High, East Milton Elementary, Bagdad Elementary, TR Jackson, Russell Elementary, Berryhill Elementary, Jay Elementary, Central School, Pea Ridge Elementary and Holly Navarre Primary. Any child up to the age of 18 is eligible for a meal. The child must be present to receive meals, the district guidelines state.
On March 30, teachers will begin to prepare for and engage in the district learning. He urged parents to visit the district website for information once classes resume. Wyrosdick said that schools have been deep cleaned and disinfected during spring break. “We will continue cleaning measures as needed to maintain a healthy environment,” he said.
Wyrosdick said parental involvement will be vital in making the distance learning work for their children.
A major challenge will be for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. To aid in their education materials may be distributed to schools, bus stops or homes.
“Educating 30,000 students in an alternate medium is challenging and we will most likely change this work as we walk through it,” he said. “However, as the servant leaders who minister to our children, they will walk over coals to take care of the needs of our students,” he said.
“Over the past week I have spoken with several teachers. They are compassionate souls who want desperately to see and speak to their students. Their greatest concern is the welfare of their students. The fabric of their character is strong, and they will work diligently to assist parents with this work.”
He said teachers are anxious to return to the classroom.
Wyrosdick said it’s too early to determine whether high-school seniors could expect a graduation ceremony.
On Wednesday, his counterpart in Escambia County, Malcolm Thomas, said commencement exercises could be postponed or canceled.
The news conference also included an update on the county’s second coronavirus case, a 48-year-old who tested positive after traveling internationally. Also officials in Gulf Breeze and Milton updated residents on the availability of municipal services. Each speaker pleaded with the public to adhere to social distancing and follow the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Health.