Jan 2022 - Guiding Practices and Protocols Updates

Pinellas County Schools is committed to providing high-quality instruction and enrichment opportunities for all students, while also maintaining wellness protocols for students and staff. Any updates will be communicated to all stakeholders.

The following, updated protocols incorporate the rules issued by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) on August 6, 2021 and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) on September 22, 2021.

FDOE Emergency Rule 6AER21-01: Pupil Attendance Records for COVID-19
FDOE Emergency Rule 6AER21-02: COVID-19 Hope Scholarship Transfer Procedures
FDOH Emergency Rule 64DER21-15: Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings


Accelerating Learning through Student and Family Engagement


  • All 2021-22 school year programming will be delivered via in-person instruction for all students.
  • Simultaneous teaching, which served a valuable purpose in the 2020-21 school year, will not be utilized during the 2021-22 school year.
  • Academic growth will be accelerated for every student through in-person instruction, high-quality teaching practices, programs and targeted enrichment and intervention opportunities matched to student needs.
  • All students will be engaged in rigorous, collaborative and inclusive educational practices which include whole class, small group and individual instruction across all grade levels and content courses. This includes the sharing of materials in classrooms and in physical education.
  • The Florida Department of Education has indicated that funding will not continue in the 2021-22 school year for innovative, online programming such as MyPCS Online. Pinellas County Schools offers a robust full- and part-time Pinellas Virtual School (PVS). To learn more about PVS, including an updated model for elementary instruction, or to schedule a meeting to discuss the supports available, go to pcsb.org/virtual.
  • In compliance with FDOE Emergency Rule 6AER21-01 an Instructional Continuity Plan has been developed to address partial and full classroom quarantines.


  • Schools and teachers will leverage the PCS Connects Initiative, Level Up activities and digital platforms to extend learning both within classrooms and beyond the school day. One-to-one student devices will expand to include students in grades 3 to 10.
  • The district, schools and teachers will continue the use of digital learning applications and platforms within classrooms including, but not limited to, the use of: Canvas, Nearpod, IXL, iStation, etc.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Extracurricular, performing arts and athletic activities for the 2021-22 school year will resume to regular operations to support student engagement and will follow district and/or organization (e.g. Florida High School Athletic Association- FHSAA) guidelines, review, permission and wellness protocols.
  • Activities and/or field trips will resume and follow the regular district review, permission and wellness protocols. Any field trip to a non-district location must follow the wellness practices of both the district and the field trip location.

Family Engagement and Campus Visitors/Volunteer

  • In-person family engagement meetings will resume and, in some cases, virtual meetings may also occur.
  • Opportunities for on-campus visitors and volunteers should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. All visitors and volunteers must follow district wellness practices and approval processes (e.g. check-in procedures, Level II clearance, etc.).
  • Schools will review their drop-off and pick-up protocols and communicate any changes directly to families.


Wellness Protocols

Pinellas County Schools will follow the wellness protocols outlined in the Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-15, issued September 22, 2021, by Florida Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladapo. Emergency Rule 64DER21-15 repeals and replaces Emergency Rule 64DER21-12 that was adopted on August 6, 2021. This applies to all students.

64DER21-15 Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings

(1) GENERAL PROTOCOLS AND DEFINITION. The following procedures shall be instituted to govern the control of COVID-19 in public schools:

(a) Schools will encourage routine cleaning of classrooms and high-traffic areas.

(b) Students will be encouraged to practice routine handwashing throughout the day. 

(c) Students will stay home if they are sick.

(d) Schools may adopt requirements for students to wear masks or facial coverings as a mitigation measure; however, the school must allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt the student out of wearing a face covering or mask at the parent or legal guardian’s sole discretion.

(e) For purposes of this rule, direct contact means cumulative exposure for at least 15 minutes, within six feet.

2) PROTOCOLS FOR SYMPTOMATIC OR COVID-19 POSITIVE STUDENTS. Schools shall ensure students experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 shall not attend school school-sponsored activities, or be on school property until:

(a) The student receives a negative diagnostic COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic: or

(b) Ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms or positive test result the student has had no fever for 24 hours and the student s other symptoms are improving; or

(c) The student receives written permission to return to school from a medical doctor licensed under chapter 458, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, or an advanced registered nurse practitioner licensed under chapter 464.

(3) PROTOCOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH EXPOSURE TO COVID-19. Schools shall allow parents or legal guardians the authority to choose how their child receives education after having direct contact with an individual that is positive for COV1D-19:

(a) Parents or legal guardians of students who are known to have been in direct contact with an individual how received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 may choose one of the following options:

  1. Allow the student to attend school, school-sponsored activities, or be on school property, without restrictions or disparate treatment, so long as the student remains asymptomatic; or
  2. Quarantine the student for a period of time not to exceed seven days from the date of last direct contact with an individual that is positive for COVID-19.

(b) If a student becomes symptomatic follow in direct contact with an individual that has tested positive for COVID-19. or tests positive for COVID-19. the procedures set forth in subsection (2), above shall apply Rulemaking Authority 1003.221(3) FS. Law Implemented 1003.221(3) FS. History-New.

Pinellas County Schools will follow the wellness protocols outlined in the Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-15, issued September 22, 2021, by Florida Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladapo. Emergency Rule 64DER21-15 repeals and replaces Emergency Rule 64DER21-12 that was adopted on August 6, 2021. This applies to all students.

Pinellas County Schools will operationalize wellness protocols by:

  • Strongly recommending that face coverings be worn when indoors by staff, students and visitors/volunteers and by continuing to have them available at schools and district facilities and on buses for students, staff and visitors.
    • Teachers will have access to a supply of masks for any student in need, and an announcement will be made by the principal during the opening period during the first week of school to make sure all students know that they can request a mask.
    • Families who opt not to have their student utilize a mask will not have to complete any form.
    • The individual choices of all families will be respected.
    • Parents are encouraged to reach out to their principal or teacher if they have a concern regarding adherence to their choice.
  • Maintaining enhanced district mitigation practices for COVID-19 regarding: air filtration, cleaning and disinfecting within all district buildings, schools and buses.
  • Keeping only the most essential furniture in classrooms to allow for additional space for learning and movement.
  • Ensuring a high focus on personal wellness practices for students and staff such as hand washing and only attending school/work when feeling well. Hand sanitizer and classroom disinfectant supplies will be available in every classroom.
  • Leveraging the use of outdoor spaces for learning and/or student lunches is encouraged through planning and collaboration between administrators and instructional staff.
  • Continuing to keep all water fountain closed.
  • Assigning a school nurse to every school.
  • In accordance with government-issued guidance regarding public health, maintaining a separate space at school sites for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Students sent home through the isolation room will be allowed to return to school using the protocols outlined by the Florida Department of Health Rule 64DER21-15 (noted above).
  • Updating the district dashboard of confirmed COVID-19 cases each school day. The district dashboard can be accessed by going to: https://www.pcsb.org/COVID19Cases.


Staff Specific Updates

Updated January 10, 2022

To support supervisors and employees navigate the protocols for COVID Cases, the district has developed the following protocol for employees with a Confirmed Positive Case.

  • In-person staff meetings, professional development and trainings will resume, keeping in mind the COVID-19 safety protocols. District and schools may still leverage virtual opportunities, if it best meets the needs, goals and outcomes of the opportunity.
  • The use of meeting spaces, including those not fully utilized during the 2020-21 school year, will reopen to facilitate collaborative meetings, trainings and development opportunities. Staff members who used these locations as workspaces will work with their supervisor, as appropriate.
  • Staff may use plexiglass at their workstations, as needed.  
  • At this time seating charts for classrooms, lunchrooms and buses will not be required in Focus but may be requested if there is a positive case at a school site to support contact tracing under the direction of the Department of Health-Pinellas (DOH-Pinellas).
  • Principals and supervisors will continue utilizing the COVID Dashboard for:
    • Confirmed cases of employees and/or students; and
    • Confirmed household cases of employees and/or students.
  • Only members of the district COVID Team, working in conjunction with the DOH-Pinellas, should inquire into vaccination status.
  • The district will maintain the COVID Team to ensure staff and student cases are addressed in a timely manner. Schools should use the current COVID-19 Dashboard to report positive cases and positive household members.
  • The Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave program, giving employees ten days of paid leave for COVID-19 related absences, as extended, expired September 30, 2021. 

COVID Sick Leave Pay MOUs 

Employee COVID leave options as agreed to by the various unions are outlined in the linked Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)