Collier County Schools ready to safely reopen to students, staff

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Credit: via WINK News.

After desks sat empty for nearly six months, come Monday, students wearing masks will walk the halls of Collier County schools once again.

”At this point in time, we have to carry on with our lives. I have to go back to work,” said Stephanie Jaquith. She is part of the 60% of Collier parents sending her two daughters back to the classroom.

“My little one, she loves wearing her mask. She’s got princess masks, dinosaur masks,” Jaquith said.

But like many parents, she’s nervous following recent high numbers of children testing positive.

“That kind of rubbed me the wrong way because then I’m back to square one,” she said. “Do I still send them or hold them back or stay at home?”

So we asked Collier County Schools Superintendent Kamela Patton about parents’ concerns.

”We’ve put as many systems and protocols into place and what we also see is we want to kind of help manage any of the kind of opportunities that might create anxiety and put on extra layers so that it makes people comfortable,” Patton said.

With desks spaced apart and hand sanitizing stations at stairwells, she says they’re doing everything for safety.

”We’ve spent time first with trauma-informed care first for our staff, and social-emotional learning activities that first full week when the kids get back, so we can just be sure we can make sure that they can ease into, whether they’re at home learning or whether they’re with us face-to-face,” Patton said.

And if parents or students don’t feel safe in the classroom, “We’re ready to pivot completely virtual if we have to,” assured Patton.

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