Collier County school district focused on safety for upcoming school year

Published: August 6, 2021 5:14 PM EDT
Updated: August 6, 2021 6:10 PM EDT

Teachers are making final preparations to their classrooms for the upcoming school year.

Collier County Public Schools is set to start the school year Tuesday with the safety of students, teachers and staff as the top priority.

“Preparations in safety, you can’t have enough,” said Superintendent Kamela Patton. “And that constant monitoring to be sure where do we tweak it.”

Patton said monitoring begins as soon as a student steps on the bus. Assigned seating will continue to be in place during the start of the school year.

“We encourage that all family members sit together as much as possible and as close as possible,” said John Kasten, CCPS director of transportation. “And we try to use our spacing as much as possible and spread them out throughout the bus.”

When students arrive at school, desks will be spaced out and face the front of the room, and hand sanitizer will be at the door.

As for elementary school students who can’t be vaccinated, CCPS has put in more precautions for lunch.

“They’ll all still be facing forward,” Patton said. “Reduce a little bit of that space between the students but still extra layers.”

Collier County no longer offers two-way, online learning in real-time with a teacher.

The school district wants all parents to know all students – masked or not masked – will be treated the same and with kindness.

“Those are norms we create with the kids,” said teacher Alyssa Totez at Osceola Elementary School in North Naples. “So they’re part of the process. They’re taking ownership. They’re agreeing to it. That’s going to be a conversation point right from the start of the school because we want to be proactive, not reactive.”