Keys schools to stagger reopenings

It’s been weeks since Keys school buses rolled.
It’s been weeks since Keys school buses rolled. Keynoter

Monroe County schools will reopen on a staggered schedule, with only the six Upper Keys schools starting first Monday, Schools Superintendent Mark Porter said.

“Reopening schools is a significant step toward returning to a sense of normalcy for all of our communities,” Porter said.

Upper Keys schools employees were asked to report Thursday.

Marathon and Key West schools will start up again Wednesday, with employees asked to report Monday and Tuesday. It was unclear Friday afternoon when the charter high school Keys Collegiate Academy, housed at the community college on Stock Island, would reopen.

The Big Pine Academy and Sugarloaf School, the Lower Keys schools in the areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10, will reopen Oct. 2, Porter said, with employees reporting on Sept. 28.

Initially, Porter predicted all Florida Keys schools would reopen Sept. 25, calling it an aggressive plan. Even the latest schedule could always change, he said.

Porter said,” It's subject to change as we monitor improvements.”

Students and teachers will have to make up for missed days. Those schools starting Monday missed 13 days while those starting Wednesday missed 15. Schools opening Oct. 2 missed 18 days.

“We only had 13 days of instruction before we had this interruption,” Porter said Friday. “We’re going to have to make up some instructional days.”

But Porter couldn’t say yet how the schools will make up the lost time.

Monroe County had some 8,849 students enrolled pre-Irma.

Transportation services will be restored as well, said school district spokeswoman Lynsey Saunders, but will require flexibility and modification of prior routes and timing.

Also, any student who returns to Monroe County prior to the scheduled opening of his or her school, particularly Big Pine Academy and Sugarloaf School, will be allowed to attend an open Monroe County School.

When school is back in session, students will be able to eat free breakfast and lunch until Oct. 20, regardless of eligibility.

School Board meets

The School Board will meet Tuesday at the A.J. Henriquez Administrative Building, 241 Trumbo Road, Key West. A workshop starts at 3 pm, and the regular meeting is set to begin at 5 p.m. The final budget hearing is set to start at 5:05 p.m.

College reopens

Florida Keys Community College will reopen with all classes starting Monday, Oct. 2. Faculty and staff will return Sept. 28 at their normal starting time. Dorm residents may begin returning Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.

Employees with specific questions should contact their supervisors, the college said. All others should visit fkcc.edu for updates. FKCC’s phone lines are currently not in operation and email is the best means of communication while telephones are being restored.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen