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Public schools close until March 30, rezoning meetings postponed

Press release from Alachua County Public Schools

Alachua County Public School families and staff:

We thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we deal with the extremely challenging and ever-changing COVID-19 situation. We remain in constant contact with state and local health officials to ensure we are following all recommendations.

Late this afternoon, Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran instructed all Florida public school districts to extend their spring breaks by an extra week. That being the case, Alachua County Public Schools will be closed from March 16th through March 27th. Currently the plan is to reopen schools on March 30th, following deep cleaning of both schools and school buses.

All employees will be reporting for work on Monday the 16th for the cleaning, planning for instructional continuity, and other critical tasks as we prepare for next week and for the return of students.

The district is finalizing plans to provide meals to students from March 16 through March 19, when schools were originally scheduled to be open. We will share more information about this as soon as possible.

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We recognize the difficulty this will create for families, but based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, this step is needed to help safeguard the health and well-being of students, staff and the community.

The community meetings on rezoning scheduled for March 16 at Kanapaha Middle School, March 31 at the SWAG Community Center and April 1 at Ft. Clarke Middle School have also been postponed indefinitely. The Job Fair on March 19 and the Bus Driver and Bus Aide Job Fair on April 2 have also been canceled. 

The School Board meeting on March 17 will be held. Citizens who wish to provide input on an agenda item but do not want to come to the meeting can submit their input to issues@gm.sbac.edu. The Board agenda for that meeting is attached. 

Decisions about future events/activities, including graduation ceremonies, will be made at a later time based on recommendations from health officials. Of course, many of these events/activities will also be affected by decisions made by the organizers, venues, etc. 

Based on new information from the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Department of Education has issued updated guidelines regarding travel. Obviously this is critical information as we approach Spring Break. Those new guidelines are as follows:

  • Anyone (students/faculty/staff/etc.) who goes on foreign travel, to any country, must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
  • Anyone (students/faculty/staff/etc.) who goes on a cruise, anywhere, must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

We recommend that anyone who falls into these categories follow these guidelines for the health and safety of others.  

Of course, information and recommendations on COVID-19 are changing rapidly, so we ask that everyone continue to monitor the situation. 

We will continue to update our dedicated Coronavirus page at https://bit.ly/38NjQpF. This page includes additional information about COVID-19, links to state and federal resources and even information on how to talk to children about COVID-19. We will continue to post updates on our Facebook (@AlachuaCountyPublicSchools) and Twitter (@AlachuaSchools) pages. We will also continue to notify families and staff directly with updates as appropriate.

This is new territory for all of us, and we appreciate the community’s ongoing support for our students and schools.