Tampa Bay Times by Jeffrey S. Solochek
April 8, 2020
No one spoke Tuesday at a Pasco County School Board public hearing about plans to send hundreds of elementary students to different schools next year.
It wasn’t for a lack of opportunity.
Despite a state stay at home order, the board conducted its session in its usual meeting room — though it adhered to social distancing guidelines that kept the public out of the chamber until invited in one by one to speak. It also opened a teleconference line for residents to call with comments.
And it created an online link for people to send written thoughts directly to staff and board members.
The goal for Pasco, as well as for other districts across Florida, is to provide public access as required by state open meeting laws while also trying to keep everyone safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boards have taken a variety of steps to balance the two competing interests.
“We’re telling them there are a number of options and they need to do what’s best for the district,” said Andrea Messina, Florida School Boards Association executive director.