top of page
Children Arriving at School

FSDB Reopening

What You Need to Know

We look forward to reopening FSDB in August for campus programs and services. Our administrative team and work groups have been planning extensively for the 2020-21 school year to ensure a successful, safe and healthy learning environment for your child(ren).

Lateste update

Latest Update

Listen in English
00:00 / 02:32

Reminder to keep contact information & emergency transportation plans updated

September 10, 2020


The 2020-21 school year is off to a great start! Thank you to all our families for working together to ensure the beginning of the year went smoothly, especially with so many changes and new ways of doing things. As a reminder, we encourage all parents/guardians to regularly log onto the Skyward Family Access portal to ensure FSDB has current contact and emergency contact information. It’s also critically important, whether during a pandemic or a typical school year, that you have arrangements in place to transport your child from school should he/she become ill. It is your responsibility to pick up your child from FSDB as ill students may not attend classes, stay in the dormitories or ride FSDB transportation with other students. If you are unable to pick up your child during an emergency, you must make arrangements to do so with approval from your child’s school principal. Please see the 2020-21 Parent-Student Handbook for more details.  

Reopening Plan

Reopening Plan 2020-21

The FSDB 2020-21 Reopening Plan will continue to change throughout the coming weeks as additional guidance is gleaned from various entities, which is grounded primarily in the public health science and data provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Both agencies are supplying the regulatory framework when it comes to hygiene, social distancing, and other public health considerations.

Reopening Plan Highlights

Reopening Plan 2020-21 – Highlights

Reopen Campus & Statewide Programs in a Safe, Responsible & Healthy Manner

  • The FSDB Reopening Plan 2020-21 is an evolving document as it is based on federal, state, and local policies and regulations, which are subject to change because of the current environment.

  • Periodic updates along with resource links and frequently asked questions will be posted to our Reopening Plan 2020-21 webpage and shared via multiple channels with key stakeholders.

  • Students and staff members will:

    • Be required to use social distancing – maintaining six feet or more distance from each other.

    • Be required to wear cloth face coverings in areas where social distancing is difficult to achieve (e.g., on buses, during class transitions, while using restrooms, etc.).

    • Refrain from congregating in large groups (the state’s phase 2 plan specifies no more than 50 people).

  • Physical barriers such as sneeze guards and partitions are being installed in areas where social distancing is difficult. Directional floor markings are also being put in place.

  • Additional social distancing specifics are addressed in the second objective below.

  • Students and staff members will be educated on and maintain personal hygiene etiquette, including increased frequency of hand washing with soap and water, and use of hand sanitizers, which are placed at strategic areas around campus.

  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols have been established and will be implemented on a regular basis including classrooms, dorm rooms, cafeterias, common areas and buses.

  • Health care and education protocols are in place for COVID-19 monitoring, coordination and follow up. Non-contact thermometers will be used to conduct temperature screening for campus visitors and students.


Align and Manage Resources to Meet Evolving Needs of Reopening FSDB


  • FSDB will provide in-person instruction five days a week on campus as well as an innovative learning environment (ILE) option for families who do not yet feel safe to have their child(ren) participate in learning in person. Both models will provide specialized instruction for all students (ELC-12th grade).

  • FSDB is also prepared to transition all students to the ILE model should closure of campus become necessary due to the pandemic. For more information, see the school’s Instructional Continuity Plan.

  • Students who participate in the ILE model during the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year will receive instruction, support and related services mirroring what students would receive if they attended school on campus. They will have the same expectations for course standards, progress monitoring, attendance, class participation and daily engagement with teachers and peers.  

  • Classroom spaces are being evaluated for maximum capacity to ensure social distancing can be maintained including cleaning routines. The recommended number for most classrooms is as follows: high school: 10 students; middle school: 8 students; and elementary school: 6 students.

  • Class schedules have been adjusted to reduce the frequency of student transitions to limit the number of contacts per day and to allow for more thorough sanitation between classes. Sharing of classroom and related materials and supplies will be discouraged.

  • FSDB is pursuing options to convene sporting events and activities in a manner which aligns with guidance from the FHSAA. FSDB will not participate in competitive sports during the fall of 2020. Coaches will hold conditioning and small group skill-development drills for student athletes. Those in the ILE model will be provided exercise information and the opportunity to engage with coaches virtually.

  • Students will participate in off-campus classes, orientation and mobility activities, and off-campus work placements if such are in alignment with off-campus sites and local and state guidance. 

  • Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings will continue with rooms being evaluated to ensure space is large enough and available for students, staff members and families to be able to social distance. IEP meetings may also continue virtually.

  • If a student withdraws temporarily and is served by the local education agency (LEA) school district due to COVID-19 concerns, the student will be able to reapply to FSDB once the health concerns are resolved.

  • Health Care Services has revised its protocols to ensure social distancing and health and safety measures are in place. Occupational and physical therapy, speech and audiology, and mental health services will continue to be provided using modified protocols.

  • Food services have been modified – use of face coverings, hand sanitizer, directional floor markings, sneeze guards and staggered meal schedules will be implemented.

  • All dormitory room assignments and specific protocols and procedures for each will be made based on available rooms/buildings, building design, staffing requirements and age and number of students.

  • FSDB will maximize distance between students to the extent feasible while on buses, using revised loading protocols and seating charts. Face coverings will be required for staff and students.

  • Campus visits for prospective students/families will be allowed in accordance with social distancing, face covering and temperature screening protocols.

Important Contacts

Important Contacts

Early Learning Center

Gail Strassel, Director

PH: 904-827-2835

VP: 904 201-4529

Blind Elementary/Middle School

Ellen Fertsch, Assistant Principal

PH: 904-827-2769


Blind High School

Justin Cosgrove, Assistant Principal

PH: 904-827-2716

Deaf Elementary School

Dr. Heidi Jordan, Assistant Principal

PH: 904-827-2520

VP: 904-201-4505

Deaf Middle School

Karen Newton, Assistant Principal

PH: 904-827-2530

VP: 904-201-4525

Deaf High School

Dina Padden, Assistant Principal

PH: 904-827-2550

VP: 904-201-4490

Boarding Services (Deaf)

Melany Botterbusch-Goodall, Director of Student Life

PH: 904-827-2208

VP: 904-201-4560


Boarding Services (Blind/Apartments)

Marja Deford, Director of Student Life

PH: 904-827-2703

VP: 904-201-4575

bottom of page