Saturday, November 28, 2020

Please return to school healthy and help keep us all safe

We hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving break. Just a reminder: having safe schools is a group effort. We all are a part of this community and we all have to take into consideration the safety of others as well as the safety of ourselves and our families.

None of us wants to be the reason another person gets sick. So, make sure you don't bring the virus back to school with you when you return to class on Monday. If you know you have been exposed to someone who has Covid-19, or if you are not feeling well yourself, stay home. Get tested. Be safe, and help us to keep Monroe County Schools safe and healthy. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

School will be in session Tuesday

Hope everyone is well following the passage of Tropical Storm Eta. Monroe County schools will be in session tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th. For those students who are on an A/B schedule, it will be a B day. Wednesday is a holiday, Veterans Day. On Thursday students on an A/B schedule will be on A day. Have a good afternoon and evening. See everyone tomorrow!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

No school Monday due to approaching storm

Based on the 4:30 PM Advisory of the National Weather Service and consultatiion with Monroe County Emergency Management, we are going to cancel school for Monroe County School District staff and students on Monday, Nov. 9th. In addition, there will be no virtual instruction on that day. Once again, we are going to cancel school on Monday, Nov. 9 for all staff and students. All school offices will be closed along with the school district office. There will be no school for virtual students as well. When classes resume on Tuesday, Nov. 10th, it will be a “B” day for students in grades 6-12.

Thank you and be safe.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

School District, Keys Energy work together to help with food insecurity

Keys Energy Services recently donated backpacks to the Monroe County School District. The 2,400 backpacks will be used county-wide to help tackle the issue of food insecurity with students and their families.
Backpacks from Keys Energy Services to be used to tackle food insecurity
Left to right, Poinciana School Cafeteria Manager
Marlyn Anne Brown Menite, Poinciana School
Principal Dr. Larry C. Schmiegel and
cafeteria worker Priscilla Sullivan.


"These are bags we would normally have given out at community events," said Keys Energy spokesperson Julio Torrado. "Since many of these events were canceled due to the pandemic, we thought this was a great way to use them. Food insecurity in our community should be something we are all concerned about," he said.

Due to the pandemic, the USDA recently extended their waiver program which provides for free meals to students, through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. The waiver program also allows for more flexibility in when meals are provided to make sure students have enough food during times they may not be in school.

The backpacks donated by Keys Energy Services will specifically be used to help provide breakfasts and lunches to all students who need them to help bridge the gap over the Thanksgiving recess as well as on weekends and over other holiday breaks.

Teachers, counselors, social workers and principals were all asked to keep an eye out for students who show signs of food insecurity. Many students deal with food insecurity every day. Through the generous support of Keys Energy, in partnership with the school district, meals will be distributed to students to help bridge the gap when they are outside of school.

“We will be sending food home with these students over Thanksgiving break,” said Superintendent Theresa Axford. “Starting the week before, over several days, each student will bring home backpacks with the equivalent of 18 meals each to make sure they have something to eat for the entire break period.”

“Thank you to Keys Energy Services for this generous donation. The USDA waiver gave us the ability to provide food, but we had nothing for the kids to carry the food home in and they really came through for us,” she added.

Parents of students who are facing food insecurity can contact their child’s individual school to ensure they will be included in this program.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

When it is safe to return to school after Covid exposure, from the Florida Department of Health

 The Florida Department of Health has issued a new document for parents and caregivers which talks about when it is safe to return to school after being exposed to Covid, or after testing positive for the virus. Click this link to see their guidelines.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

School District clarifies rumors about mask wearing, other issues

We wanted to take the time to publicly address some concerns expressed at this week’s School Board meeting, during the “Community Call In” portion of the meeting. We hope this clarifies some rumors circulating both on social media and in the community at large.

1. School District mask wearing policy:

A number of callers expressed concern and/or opposition to the requirement for students to wear masks in school.

The district does require masks for everyone who attends school, works in a school or visits a school. This is a district-wide requirement and will continue to be a requirement until further notice. The vast majority of scientists and medical professionals are clear: wearing a mask is one of the best defenses we have available to us at this time when it comes to the prevention of Covid-19. If a parent wishes to withdraw their student from school and participate in virtual options instead, he/she can contact Kristen.Condella@keysschools.com for assistance.

2. Rumors that a student “passed out” while wearing a mask and participating in gym class at HOB school:

This did not happen. No student district wide has lost consciousness due to mask wearing or for any other reason. Protective policies are in place to avoid such incidents; the Florida Keys does have very warm weather, as we all know, and schools have to be on the lookout for heat related issues whenever students are participating in outdoor activities. This has only become more important with our current situation.

3. Rumors of “retaliatory action” the following day due to the above alleged incident:

We have already established the alleged incident did not take place. Additionally, this grade level of student only has PE once a week, so nothing could have happened “the following day”; and, further, no grade level of students has participated in any type of running activity this school year.

4. Rumors a Kindergartner at Poinciana School who sneezed into her mask and had to wear a soiled mask all day:

There are extra masks in various sizes available at every school for those entering schools who need them, for staff members and for children who might need a new mask due to one becoming soiled, or in case a mask becomes broken or unusable for any other reason. We have sent out a reminder district-wide about this and have encouraged everyone to use these extra masks any time they are needed.

In closing, anyone whose child has a specific issue of concern during the course of a school day is encouraged to discuss it with the child’s teacher or the administration of the school in question. Spreading unconfirmed rumors and second hand stories on social media does no one any good and will not help any of us in the current crisis we are all dealing with. Instead of spreading misinformation, ask someone for the facts. We appreciate all those who took the time to do just that during the recent School Board meeting. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify these rumors for the community.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Monroe County Schools share Covid information through dashboard

 In the interests of keeping parents, school district employees and the public informed, the Monroe County School District has posted a "dashboard" on their website, www.keysschools.com, which will allow people to see where in the school district there are confirmed cases of Covid-19. This informational tool breaks down cases by individual school and will let people know whether the case is a student, teacher or other staff member / employee of the district.

"With the assistance of information from the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County we will be providing this information to the public," said Superintendent Theresa Axford. "It is important for us to be open about sharing this information for the safety of everyone," she added.

The dashboard was posted on Friday and allows the district to share information with the public about confirmed cases without violating the privacy of anyone involved. The information will be updated on Wednesdays and Fridays. As of Tuesday it shows four positive cases: three students - one each at Stanley Switlik Elementary School, Marathon Middle/High School and Plantation Key School, and one staff member who is "non-site based", which means he/she does not work at a particular school or at the administrative building. An example would be maintenance or transportation staff.

"I want to assure everyone that if they, or a family member, were exposed to one of these Covid positive individuals, they would have been contacted directly by the Health Department," said Axford.