Here's what Flagler Schools is doing to help keep students safe this fall

Reopening schools during the pandemic requires a reworking of everything from bus routes to HVAC equipment.

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The Flagler County School Board is considering delaying the start of school by 10 school days, to Aug. 24. Board members will meet about adjusting the school calendar at 3 p.m. July 28.

In the meantime, what is the district doing — or planning to do — to help keep students safe when schools reopen for the fall semester? District departments briefed the board on their plans during a workshop on July 21.

Here's a department-by-department look.


  • Families will have three options for the fall semester: In-person instruction at brick-and-mortar schools; iFlagler online classes; or remote-learning, in which students stay home but use a webcam to follow along with the classes that are occurring on campus. 
  • As of July 21, 1,300 students had selected iFlagler, up from 55 last year. Another 1,160 had initiated iFlagler applications but hadn't finished them. A total of 2,100 chose the remote-learning option.
  • The district is still determining which classes and special programs can be offered through remote learning.  


  • The district plans to keep schools' relative humidity between 40% and 60%.
  • The usual school temperature standard is now 78 degrees, but the district might lower that in order to reduce humidity. That might mean going down to 76 degrees or 75 degrees.
  • The run time for school HVAC systems will increase, and the district is working with Florida Power & Light to see about a rate adjustment.
  • The district is still determining how much fresh air the school HVAC systems can feasibly bring into schools while maintaining appropriate humidity levels: Currently, the maximum setting appears to be between 75% and 80%.
  • The district will start flushing school buildings with fresh air starting on July 27.
  • The district will change all air filters and increase filter ratings.
  • An average of three to four air changes will be completed per hour (the CDC recommends at least two air changes per hour).
  • HVAC systems will be turned on two hours before school starts and will continue running until one hour after teachers' contract times.
  • The cleaning schedule for HVAC coils will be increased.
  • Water bottle filling stations will be added in schools.
  • At this point, the district is not planning to make water fountains off limits, but the district is awaiting further guidance from the CDC on the issue.


  • Bus drivers have been given goody bags of masks for themselves and for students. The bags also contain gloves and hand sanitizer. Drivers are also being given hydrogen peroxide wipes for intermittent cleaning.
  • All school buses will be disinfected using a disinfectant sprayer between morning and afternoon runs.
  • Masks will be required at all times on buses.
  • The district will adjust bus seating to minimize situations in which students must walk past one another on buses. When students enter buses in the morning, the first students to board must go to rear. As the bus continues along the route, student will continue up toward the front. In the afternoons, the students who will get off at the last stop on the route will sit at the back of the bus, and students who will get off at the first stop will sit at the front.
  • All students on buses must keep their hands to themselves. 
  • Students will not be allowed to share items, and all items must stay in backpacks.
  • The district is advising (but can not require) students to wear masks and observe social distancing at bus stops.
  • The district is asking parents not to bring a student to the bus stop if the student is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If a student is ill at a bus stop when the bus pulls up: If the student's parent is still there, the driver will ask the parent to take the student home. If the student is alone, the driver will contact dispatch, and dispatch will attempt to contact the student's parents; the bus will then wait until a parent arrives. If a parent isn’t available, the district will try to get another bus or a van to pick the child up and take the student to the school clinic. If there is not another vehicle available, the student will board the bus in the front seat and be given a mask, and will be taken straight to the school clinic. Details of these procedures are still being developed.
  • Bus seating plans are being revised to reduce the number of students per bus. Three new routes may be added, bringing the total to 82.
  • About five bus routes won’t have air conditioning. Buses without air conditioning will be used for the shortest routes.
  • Drivers will clean buses daily with Clorox wipes.


  • The day crew will do additional cleaning of touch points like door handles and light switches.
  • More trash cans have been added in lunch areas.
  • A Clorox 360 disinfection machine is available at each school. It will be used to clean schools regularly.
  • If a student becomes sick at school, the school locations that the student has passed through will be disinfected.
  • Each school has been given 3,000 reusable masks, and the district is trying to get nitrile gloves as well.
  • Custodians have been given N-95 masks. The district is considering providing face shields for staff at school nursing stations and ESE classrooms.
  • Clorox wipes will be provided for classrooms.


  • The district is looking at options for prepackaging lunches so that students can be handed a to-go box or bag.
  • Lunch trays will not be used.
  • The district is developing procedures to provide school lunches to iFlagler students and remote learning students. The system will likely involve off-campus meal pickup sites.


  • Devices like student computers and iPads will be distributed through a drive-thru system, with staff wearing personal protective equipment during the distribution process.
  • Technical support is shifting to a remote-first model.
  • The district is communicating with other local government bodies about increasing internet access in underserved areas of the county.
  • The district is working on setting up webcam and audio options with conferencing USB microphones for teachers who are teaching remote-learning students. The cameras will be set up on tripods.


  • District schools already have protocols in place for communicable diseases. Those contain flow-charts that have now been enhanced for COVID-19.
  • If a student or staff member tests positive and the test is confirmed by the Health Department, the approach taken will differ based on whether the case was isolated or part of a cluster. If it is an isolated case, the district will notify the group of people potentially affected, and the Health Department will begin contact tracing. If there are multiple cases, there will be a campaign to inform school community members, potentially with emails and social media notices posted by the communications department.
  • If an individual shows up in a school clinic showing any of a list of 14 possible COVID-19 symptoms, the school nurse will call a Department of Health nurse liaison, and they will determine whether the symptom is something that requires a further assessment for screening or quarantine.
  • A “line list” protocol will be used to determine where a potentially infected student has been on school property, so that those areas can be disinfected.
  • If a student is sent home for quarantine or testing, they must be cleared through the Department of Health or by a doctor before returning to school.
  • The district already has care plans for students who are medically fragile. Those plans are being evaluated for COVID-19-specific enhancements.
  • School nurses will be notified ahead of time when a student is sent to the clinic for COVID-19 symptoms, so that the nurses have time to don personal protective equipment.
  • Separate spaces will be set aside at school clinics for students who are symptomatic.
  • The district will try to reduce traffic in school clinics by providing things like Band-Aids outside the clinic itself.


  • Mental health services are being provided through tele-health by the district's mental health providers.
  • The district is planning to hold four family support events in coordination with the Education Foundation and the Connect Bus.

For more information and to view the district's Return to School Guide, go to


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