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Hillsborough Schools reopening brings calls for more discussion

Questions abound, and one school board member wants to delay the start of school.

TAMPA — The details are dizzying: Contact tracing for students who are sick. Staggered arrival and dismissal. Handwashing breaks throughout the day.

So many decisions and instructions are involved in the reopening of school that, hearing about them Tuesday afternoon, board members asked for a pause.

Superintendent Addison Davis already has already agreed to host a virtual town hall meeting to answer questions before parents have to decide whether to send their children to brick-and-mortar schools or allow them to learn remotely as COVID-19 remains a threat.

In addition, there was a call Tuesday for a board workshop, similar to the televised session they held on June 23.

Member Cindy Stuart, as she has previously, suggested the district delay the start of school until after Labor Day.

“I just think this is way too much, too soon,” she said.

Stuart offered a few options for reopening: Waiting until September; rolling the openings of elementary, middle and high schools into separate days, or giving parents a later deadline to decide what setting is best for their children.

Davis has made two recent concessions to anxious parents. He extended their deadline for a decision from July 10 to July 17. And, after appeals from the medical community, parents and teachers, he announced that masks will be mandatory in the schools.

Dates have not yet been announced for the virtual meeting or the School Board workshop.