Committee Formed to Create COVID-19 Guide for School Boards Reopening Campuses

chronicleonlinecom| Buster Thompson | Jun 9, 2020

School board members from across Florida formed an ad-hoc group tasked with writing a guide for their colleagues to use as they plan to reopen campuses during a pandemic. Created by the Florida School Board Association, the unnamed committee has until June 30 to publish the “School Board Pandemic Response Reference Guide.”

“It’s really a guide for school board members as to their roles, situations and how they can be most effective,” said Citrus County School Board member Thomas Kennedy, who sits on the nine-member committee as its vice chair.

Committee members met for the first time Wednesday, June 3, 2020, and plan to hold non-public meetings over Zoom on an as-needed basis to compete their guide.

This guide will outline what discussions and questions school board members should have and ask as they plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 year amid COVID-19.

Kennedy said the guide will address the short-, middle- and long-term topics for school boards to brainstorm as they talk about the virus’ impacts on their school districts’ student progression, budgets, classroom sizes, staffing, food services and busing.

Thomas Kennedy, Committee Vice Chair

“It’s different than an operational guide,” Kennedy said. “We are the ones who ask, ‘what needs to be done?’ and … check on if it’s being done, but it’s the superintendents telling us how it’s going to be done and when it’s going to be done.”

Kennedy said the guide will also help school board members, who may have tense relationships with each other or their school superintendents, to work better together.

“That’s really a non-issue in Citrus County, but not everywhere else,” he said.

“While we work in concert with one another, we each have our own lanes,” Kennedy added. “So it’s important for each us to truly get the business done for our students is each of us staying in our lanes really allows us to accomplish a great deal.”

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