April 18, 2020
Pinellas County Schools Staff,
Today, Governor DeSantis and the Department of Education extended the closure of all school buildings in the state of Florida for the balance of the school year due to the COVID-19 health crisis. I, as your superintendent, and the Pinellas County School Board, believe this to be the absolute right decision. The safety, health and well-being of our students, families, staff and community are of the utmost importance. This means, that Pinellas County Schools will continue with digital instruction for the rest of the 2019-20 school year. I am proud that during the first three weeks of digital learning nearly 98 percent of our students engaged online. That being said, we must all be committed to continuously improve our supports for our students and families with the ultimate goal of reaching 100 percent participation.
Thank you for all your efforts to ensure our students’ learning continues. I know the transition has not been easy and our day-to-day lives have all drastically changed. I am beyond grateful to each of you for the understanding, grace and flexibility we have given ourselves and one another. The spirit of unity and cooperation I have experienced throughout our school community is truly remarkable. Please rest assured that the district intends to pay all regular full- and part-time employees as we normally would for all upcoming paychecks.
I also want to thank our principals, teachers and support staff for going the extra mile to create dynamic online lessons and to connect with students and families in this new way. I have seen incredible examples of the creative and innovative ways students and teachers are connecting and learning. We know digital learning does not replace the relationships nor experiences of our classrooms; however, we are all here to support our students, so they continue their learning and connection with their teachers and classmates.
We recognize that there are many end-of-year traditions and this time is exceptionally hard for our high school seniors and their families. We are working to ensure such celebrations, especially graduation, are honored and meaningful. With that in mind, all high school graduation commencement ceremonies for Pinellas County Schools will be conducted virtually, with each school also hosting a celebration at their school site once it is deemed safe by health officials to have large gatherings. Further details about virtual commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020 will be communicated to seniors and their families by principals next week.
We will continue to provide updates to all employees. To stay informed, be sure to monitor your district email, the district website (www.pcsb.org/coronavirus) and social media outlets for updates. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we work together to support each other and our students.
As I stated in one of my very first messages regarding COVID-19, we will work together, with care and compassion, to support our students and community through this difficult time. Pinellas County Schools remains committed to providing a high-quality education to our students. I sincerely appreciate your continued patience and support.
Michael A. Grego, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Pinellas County Schools
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.