PINELLAS COUNTY — Pinellas County Schools is so very fortunate to have a community that cares and invests so much in the education of our next generation. I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the support you continue to provide to our district, our staff, our families and, most importantly, our students.
The 2020-21 school year will definitely be a little different for our entire community. To meet the academic, health and wellbeing needs of all students we have offered families three high-quality learning options for Fall 2020: Traditional in-person classes, MyPCS Online and Pinellas Virtual School.
We are committed to ensuring that all learning options are robust and engaging. We value the opinions of our families and employees and created these choices based on districtwide survey responses from more than 43,000 students, parents and staff members as well as eleven focus groups held with a variety of stakeholders.
The health and wellbeing of our school community is paramount. To ensure that schools are as safe and clean as possible, we have developed a detailed, step-by-step plan to clean and disinfect our schools and facilities each day. We are asking for support from families to make sure that students who plan to attend school in-person are aware of requirements involving the wearing of masks, keeping a safe social distance when possible, as well as keeping hands clean and using hand sanitizer.
To learn more about the district health and wellness protocols, please visit www.pcsb.org/reopening.
Our decisions will continue to be guided by recommendations from health experts, so we want families to know that plans may be updated depending on what is happening in our local community. All our educators and school staff will continue to support families as we always have done. We are working to meet the challenges provided by the current health crisis and are constantly developing new methods of supporting students and families.
As we begin the 2020-2021 school year, I am excited to begin our new initiative, PCS Connects. In the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, we made a quick transition to digital learning, distributing more than 26,000 digital devices to ensure that all students had devices for learning and enrichment. That effort clearly illustrated the digital divide in our community. Through PCS Connects, we are eliminating that divide by becoming a complete 1:1 digital district. We have plans in place to ensure that every student has access to a computer. Also, families in need of assistance to secure internet access at home may contact their school to check out a Wi-Fi hotspot.
I am so incredibly proud to work in a district that provides so many resources and opportunities for students. Many of those opportunities are possible thanks to the Pinellas County Schools Referendum. The half-mill tax helps the school district recruit and retain quality teachers; boost our reading, music and art programs; and provide up-to-date technology and textbooks.
The Referendum was first approved in 2004 and has been renewed by voters every four years. It will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. Please remember to vote. You can learn more about the Referendum at www.pcsb.org/referendum.
Be sure to check our website at www.pcsb.org for the latest information about Pinellas County Schools. You will also find updates on our social media platforms. For your convenience, we have created a one-stop-shop on our website where you can find out the latest information about returning to school: www.pcsb.org/backtoschool.
Pinellas County Schools remains committed to providing a safe, high-quality education for each and every student. We appreciate your collaboration and flexibility as we work together to ensure that all students have the tools, resources and supports they need to be successful and achieve excellence in all they do!
Michael A. Grego, Ed.D.
Superintendent Pinellas County Schools