"We knew there was a big opportunity to support our youngest learners."By Andrea Alvarez

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News at 10) – The Hillsborough County School District launched a new virtual program to help alleviate pressure from both students and teachers when a student must quarantine after being exposed to- or contracting Covid-19.

“We knew there was a big opportunity to support our youngest learners in pre-k through 5th grade,” said Meagan Parenteau who serves as the Elementary Generalist for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Virtual Quarantine Support offers students pre-k through 5th grade the opportunity to connect with a live certified teacher from home. “Even though some quarantine regulations have changed recently, we’re still getting students that are home for multiple days and missing learning in their classroom.”

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“We have hired 7 certified teachers,” explained Deputy Superintendent for the district, Terry Connor. “They are working from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Math, Science, social studies, and language arts.”

“If you child is home and completing their teacher-assigned lessons and they get stuck on something, they can hop right on a TEAMS call with a certified teacher to get the help they need right then and there,” said Parenteau. “When students get into quarantine, they don’t feel the stress of checking in with their students every day and trying to manage students at home in quarantine and students that are physically present in their class as well.”

The district has reported more than eleven thousand cases of the virus since August and has provided grades 6 through 12 with similar support.

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“I have my own students in Hillsborough County Public Schools and they were in quarantine for ten days, so it was really interesting to see, before this program was developed, the need for a program like this,” explained Parenteau of her personal experience.

Officials plan to continue the program for the duration of the school year.

“Even with the reduced number of students in quarantine that we’re experiencing now, we have several hundreds of students across the district that are still in need of a program like this and we look forward to serving those student through this initiative over the course of the school year,” said Connor.

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