Lee County school district discusses upcoming school year

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(CREDIT: Lee County School District)

The chief academic officer of Lee County schools held a press conference Thursday to discuss what’s new in Lee County schools.

WINK News attended the conference to tell you what you need to know as students head back to class.

Lee County schools has a message for parents as they prepare to send their kids back to school.

Make sure they get there.

Jeff Spiro, Chief Academic Advisor at the School District of Lee County said, absenteeism proved to be a real problem last year.

“And so, we really need students in schools so that they can learn and get the skills and knowledge that they need to be successful,” Spiro said.

Once students are in school, it’s David Newlan’s job to ensure they’re safe. Newlan is the Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management.

“We’re always adding to security. Absolutely. Like I said, you can’t be complacent, you have to be active, alert. And anytime we see a weak point, we’re going to address it,” Newlan said.

Wally Colon is Assistant Director of Health Services.

WINK News asked her if there’s any fear of a COVID-19 outbreak now that most if not all pandemic protocols have been lifted.

“We will be monitoring for any outbreaks or enemy outbreaks, and within the classrooms, we’re going to stay in constant communication with the department of health. Anytime that there is an outbreak or an illness that is of a concern, we’re going to let them know. And if they deem it necessary, they would then go ahead and investigate,” Colon said.

The CDC is expected to issue new guidelines for how schools should attempt to control COVID-19.

For the first time since the pandemic started students and parents will have a more normal year and COVID-19 cases won’t be tracked.

Like before each school will pay attention to illness and absenteeism and if the district suspects an outbreak it will let the health department know.

Most educators agree the pandemic created a learning gap that still exists today.

“It means that your child might be struggling in a standard in the area of math or reading, and our teachers are poised and ready to do small group instruction to help that student fill in the gaps,” Spiro said.

When it comes to breakfast and lunch good news for all parents.

Kandy Messenger, Director of Food and Nutrition at the School District of Lee County said, “all of our students that come in the door will be able to receive breakfast and lunch at no charge to them.”

That’s thanks to the community eligibility program, which the district renewed through 2026.

“It’s important that we have students that have food because they’re hungry when they’re hungry, they cannot learn,” Messanger said.

This year, Lee County schools will post a two-week menu parents can access online. That way they’re able to plan and adjust to their child’s needs.

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