Frequently Asked Questions
Our school health personnel are in constant contact with the Florida Department of Health about health concerns across our country and around the world, including the flu and coronavirus.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Some, like the SARS or MERS viruses cause serious infections like pneumonia.
How are coronaviruses spread?
Like other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread to others from an infected person who has symptoms through:
- Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms with symptoms including:
- Difficulty breathing
I’m not feeling well or my child is not feeling well, what should I do?
If you have specific medical questions about the newest coronavirus and the illness it causes—COVID-19—visit the websites for the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
If my child is home sick for any reason, are the absences excused during this eLearning period? And can my child make up the missed work?
The health of our students is one of our top priorities. If a student is unable to complete assignments due to illness, and the student’s parent or guardian reports the reason for the absence to the teacher, the absence is excused under our district’s Attendance Policy.
For excused absences, students can make up the work they missed and can work with their teachers for missed assignments and tests.
Are schools in Hillsborough County closing because of coronavirus/COVID-19?
At this time, Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered all schools in Florida to be closed through April 15th due to concerns about coronavirus. There is currently no evidence that coronavirus is in any of our schools. We will send information via phone, email and text through ParentLink with updates.
We work very closely with the health department and always implement their recommendations. Our custodial crews are providing extra cleaning and disinfecting while schools are closed. Prior to Spring Break, hand sanitizer dispensers were installed on all school buses and at all district-operated schools' main entrances and cafeterias.
What precautions are schools taking because of coronavirus?
Hillsborough County Public Schools is in constant contact with the Florida Department of Health and our district is following the state’s recommendations for cleaning and prevention. Our district’s current proactive preparations encompass three main areas: Physical, Medical and Educational
Physical – Our School Campuses
- Deep cleaning will take place in all of our schools now through April 15.
Medical – Preventing Disease Spread
Educational – Ensuring Learning Continues
For details on these preparations, see this section of our district’s coronavirus webpage.
Details on how learning will continue can be found in the districts eLearning Contingency Plan.
What if I recently traveled, or my child traveled and got sick?
Follow these steps from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick:
To learn more about the symptoms visit:
If a school is closed, how will learning continue?
We are implementing an eLearning Contingency Plan.
We are asking every student, parent and teacher to know their Edsby account username and password and for every student to also know his or her Clever account username and password. For instructions, visit this section of our district’s coronavirus webpage.
March 23 – March 27 is Set Up for Success Week!
As we shift our education online, we are dedicating the week of March 23–March 27 to making sure our students, families and teachers set up to succeed with online learning.
Teachers will be connecting with their students online and providing exciting ways to start eLearning—while families get comfortable with our eLearning tools Edsby and Clever, set up a schedule at home with dedicated learning time and set up a place at home where students can concentrate on learning.
As teachers and students feel comfortable next week, they can start to engage and work on educational content. Lessons during March 23–27 will be educational and enriching, but will not be graded. Following new guidance from the Florida Department of Education, full online eLearning—with students completing assignments and receiving grades—will begin Monday, March 30th.
We will send you more information about student assignments and eLearning as we get closer to Set Up for Success Week, starting March 23rd.
I have multiple children in the house and it’s not possible for them to all be online at once. Are there set school hours I have to be online?
There is flexibility during eLearning when it comes to the time of day a student does their assignments. We understand a family may be sharing a computer or device. There are not set hours for a student to complete their eLearning as long as the assignments are completed daily. Students will be held accountable to complete all assignments given by their teacher in a timely manner.
What about students with Special Needs and Specific learning and learning related disabilities?
We are identifying strategies to ensure a full array of services is available for supporting students with IEPs and 504 plans.
What if I don't have access to internet?
Through our partnership with Spectrum, we are able to provide free Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps.
To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
Wi-Fi hotspots across Spectrum’s footprint will also be available for public use.
Comcast is also offering their Internet Essentials service. If you are not a customer and have questions about applying for Internet Essentials, please call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). You must live in an area where Comcast Internet Service is available. You can check by entering your address on the Comcast website. If you are eligible for Internet Essentials, apply by April 30, 2020, and are approved, you will automatically receive the two-month free promotion. After the promotion, regular rates apply. Internet Essentials current rate is $9.95 per month plus tax unless you disconnect your service.
* Limited time offer; subject to change. Two (2) free months Internet and WiFi service available to households with students or teachers requiring remote education at the service address. Valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to Internet services within the previous 30 days and have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Free months will be applied as a bill credit. Offer applies to speeds up to 200 Mbps. If you do not call to cancel your service before free period ends, standard rates apply. Taxes and fees extra; subject to change during and after the promotional period; professional installation (unless self-install not available), equipment and additional services are extra. Restrictions apply. ©2020 Charter Communications.
Since school is closed, how will students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch be supported?
Starting Monday, March 23, our Student Nutrition team will be providing breakfast and lunch for all students 18 and younger, at 23 of our school sites.
Students must be present to receive meals. The hours to pick up school are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For locations and additional details about nutritious breakfast and lunch at no cost for children 18 and under, visit: Grab and Go Meal Information
When I pick up my child's meal from the grab-and-go sites, other schools have different items. Why don't all children receive the same food?
Our Student Nutrition Services team utilizes perishable items first, and the menu will vary from site to site based on supply. Please note, each meal meets nutrition requirements even though the items may be different. Our team posts the menu at each site every day.
What do I do if we do not have access to internet or computer/tablets for eLearning?
We recently sent out a phone call survey to families, gauging access to internet and computers for eLearning.
Our district is developing a plan to loan devices or laptop computers to families who do not have access to one. We will send you information when it is available in the coming days, via ParentLink and also post all updates at HillsboroughSchools.org.
How to get 60 days of free internet access from our partners Spectrum and Xfinity: Free WiFi Information
Are we cleaning every bus and school in the district over spring break?
Our district buses are in rotation, as they have been since July, to be cleaned by our outside vendor to sanitize the interior of the buses. This will continue after Spring Break just as it has all year.
Trained technicians from EviroSanitize use state-of-the-art steam-cleaning equipment with zero chemicals to clean our school buses. They steam, clean and dry in one operation, eliminating bacteria.
What about group gatherings with students, teachers, field trips, extracurricular and sport events?
The Florida Department of Education urges adherence to the CDC’s guidance for higher-risk populations by cancelling any mass gatherings, community events and extracurricular activities, including sports of more than 10 people in a single occupied space at any educational program, school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten, public and private K-12, career and technical centers, and public and private colleges and universities.
Are there any modifications to athletic schedules or operational procedures?
All extracurricular activities including before and after school programs have been canceled until future notice. If anything changes, we will send you the information.
My child has a compromised immune system and I would like to keep them home until health officials determine the virus is contained. Will my child’s absence from school be excused?
If your child has health conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes or Asthma, and you choose to keep your child home, once students are back on campus, your child’s absences will be excused.
You must follow the current process for reporting your child absent from school.
For excused absences, students can make up the work they missed and can work with their teachers for missed assignments and tests. Attendance Policy.
Please see the information above regarding eLearning procedures, if school closure is necessary.
With schools closed through April 15, what options are available for childcare?
All school sites will be closed from March 23 – April 15, during this time all before and afterschool care will be closed. We will update this page with resources on childcare opportunities in our community, as they are made available to us.
Will we have to make up the days?
If we have to make up the days, that decision will come from the Florida Department of Education. We will keep you posted.
Can the state waive the days that may need to be made up?
Required school days can be waived at the state level; however, there is not a guarantee that will happen. Until we hear otherwise we will continue to follow our current school calendar.
How will graduation be impacted?
FLDOE is working with the CDC to discuss future plans for High School Graduations. Currently, the schedule still stands for graduation. We will keep everyone updated if there are any changes.
How will this affect the testing schedule, accountability and promotion?
All remaining assessments for school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten and K-12 assessments are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year.
Requirements for graduation and promotion, and final course grades will be evaluated as though those assessments which were cancelled did not exist.
K-12 school grades will not be calculated for 2019-2020 and schools in turnaround may continue their current status for 2020-2021 to avoid disruption to school leadership and operations
Eligibility for Florida Bright Futures scholarships shall be based on available data and results. Tests that were not available to be taken shall not be counted
What if I have a senior graduating this year?
The Florida Department of Education will be waiving all graduation requirements related to Seniors who are projected to graduate this Spring who have not met the requirements for Algebra I EOC (End of Course) or English Language Arts FSA or received a concordant score. Students must finish the Spring semester and meet all other requirements.
Can my child carry hand sanitizer?
The most effective way to prevent disease spread is to wash your hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can serve as a good backup—make sure to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
Should my child wear a surgical mask at school to prevent contracting COVID-19?
Respiratory masks are not for use in the general public and typically will not protect your child from an infected person. These are best used and most effective on the person who has symptoms.
How can I help my school and community prepare?
To help us all prevent the spread of germs, talk with your family about the prevention steps on this CDC flyer, especially washing hands.
When students and teachers are back at school sites, you are welcome to make a donation of additional disinfecting supplies to a school, however, PLEASE CHECK THE INGREDIENTS. DO NOT use anything that contains Clorox bleach or bleach of any kind—fumes from bleach can linger for days and cause serious breathing issues for students and staff.
Resources that will help keep classrooms from running short on supplies include:
- Hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol, dye free and fragrance free)
- Alcohol-based sanitizing wipes for hands (dye free and fragrance free)
- General all-purpose disinfectant in a spray can (Lysol or similar store brand, dye free and fragrance free)
- Disinfecting wipes for surfaces (no bleach, dye free and fragrance free)
You can bring donations to your school’s main office. This will help continue our district’s efforts to sanitize surfaces with a focus on hygiene and health.
When my child goes back to school and discovers a soap or hand sanitizer dispenser at a school that needs to be refilled—what should I do?
All staff members at our schools are empowered to let their campus leaders know when a cleaning supply is empty or running low. Students should tell an adult staff member—such as a teacher, custodian or assistant principal—about the specific location of the issue, then that staff member will alert the school’s administration.