The School District of Manatee County heeded COVID-19 instruction from Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran and March 13 announced schools would be closed until March 30.
The decision extended spring break, which began March 16 to end March 30.
Before the closure, Anna Maria Elementary followed district instruction to ensure students and staff would be as hygienic as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hand sanitizer was made available at the entrance to the front office, cafeteria and all classrooms.
In an email to the Islander March 10, principal Jackie Featherston said students who felt sick with symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or vomiting were sent home.
“The school district is implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures at all schools and during spring break,” Featherston said.
“This includes disinfecting all restrooms and breakrooms daily, disinfecting all common touch areas, door handles, light switches, faucets, water fountains and in addition, playgrounds and other outdoor touch surfaces.”
When classes resume, students will be given more time to wash hands and school nurse Vicki Dunning will conduct hand-washing classes.
Staff were sent a video about hand washing.
Many AME students and staff changed spring break plans due to the pandemic.
“My daughter Ava and I had to cancel our trip to Las Vegas,” AME administrator Sheila Zinks wrote in an email March 15.
Some district students were spending break at home, including second-grader Rusty Dilley, who spent part of March 15 building a sandcastle on the beach near 52nd Street in Holmes Beach.
“My mom said we are lucky to live near the beach and she’s right,” said Rusty.
Rusty said he hopes to go to the beach every day.