TAMPA -- The Hillsborough school board voted to keep classes online for four weeks... but in the end, that vote was meaningless.
The state threatened to take away $23 million in state funding. Superintendent Addison Davis said that would bankrupt the district an forced layoffs. After a meeting with officials in Tallahassee, Davis announced there will be "one week" of online classes starting August 24th, with brick-and-mortar classes reopening August 31st.
Chief academic officer Terry Connor says students will be web conferencing with teachers and connecting with peers during the first week of online-only learning.
Hillsborough County Commissioners don't have authority over the school board, but they had a lot to say about Thursday's decision by Davis at their simultaneous COVID-19 meeting. Commission chair Les Miller says experts have recommended waiting until the positivity rate hits 5 percent before reopening schools. Commissioner Pat Kemp called it a "usurpation" of the board's authority. However, Miller discouraged a resolution backing the school board, saying he didn't want to get into a "dogfight" with the state.
Commissioners also voted to extend the county's mask mandate... and to extend it to children as young as 5 years old.
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