OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Okeechobee County schools will start a week later.
The Okeechobee County School District decided Thursday to move the start of the 2020-21 academic year from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17.
School board members voted 5-0 in favor of Superintendent Ken Kenworthy's recommendation to delay the start by a week to allow teachers more time to acclimate themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.
New teachers will report July 30, while returning teachers will report Aug. 3.
School board members previously agreed to offer three educational options for students -- traditional in-person classroom instruction, full-time online instructional learning or a blended model for students who will eventually transition back to traditional school.
Families choosing to return to the classroom will have to wear face coverings at school for the first nine weeks of the school year. In addition, the district will provide enhanced safety measures on school campuses.
The second option, Okeechobee Synch, is "designed for families who would like to maintain their connection to their enrolled school, but don't yet feel comfortable sending their student(s) back to school in August."
The Okeechobee Synch option will last at least nine weeks.
Lastly, Okeechobee Virtual School is a full-time program for students allowing families "the ability to influence their child's schedule."
The Florida Department of Education must approve the district's reopening plan.