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St. Lucie Public Schools superintendent answers questions about upcoming school year

Only half of the students in the county will return to campus
Posted at 10:44 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 18:52:28-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — On August 24, students in St. Lucie County will be heading back to school.

51% of students will be returning to campus, the other half will be taking classes from home virtually.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Wayne Gent, Kathryn Hensley, school board member, and Representative Delores Hogan Johnson, District 84, hosted a Q&A session on Facebook live to answer many lingering questions families still have.

Gent said that should a student on campus test positive for COVID-19, the local health department will be doing the contact tracing and notifying families which students need to be sent home to quarantine.

"The kids are going to go to school, they're going to get sick, unfortunately, and they're going to send them back and they're going to shut down the school," said Stephen Mazzo, 7th-grade parent.

Mazzo is keeping his daughter Annabella home to take classes online.


"I didn't even think about it," said Mazzo. "I knew I wanted to keep her home."

Gent said that students should avoid riding the bus if possible and that students who have to ride the bus will have assigned seating.

"We need the students in the same seats because if somebody does test positive and we do the contact tracing, then it's really easy to find out who sat real close to that individual student," said Gent.

On-campus, masks will be required except when teachers say they are Ok to take off.

School board officials said anyone with a fever above 100.4 degrees will be sent home.

"There may be a couple bumps along the way as we first roll this out because this going to be a little bit new but we will have it fine-tuned very very quickly," said Gent.

Students who have opted in for virtual learning will still have the option to pick up frozen meals from campus, 5 at a time.

Laptops will begin being distributed on Monday, Aug. 17.

My school online will not look like the last 9 weeks looked because we threw it together so quickly because we had no other option and we got the computers out quickly. Now we've had time to adequately train our teachers," said Gent.

Mazzo said he has hired a babysitter to watch his daughter since he and his wife have to work.

He said because he has underlying conditions, the virtual school was his family's only option.

"Because we are going higher with the coronavirus, they should have waited to start school till maybe next in January, versus now," said Mazzo.

Visitors will be allowed on campus in limited numbers, according to Gent.

All visitors will have to have their temperature taken and will need to fill out paperwork stating where they have recently been.