Polk County Public Schools will limit its involvement in the upcoming Polk County Youth Fair, as part of the district’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We understand the significance of the Youth Fair, but this is a very critical time in the pandemic. Everyone, on an individual and an organizational level, must do everything possible to help stop the spread of the virus,” said Deputy Superintendent John Hill.
The fair is scheduled to take place from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 at the Polk County Agricultural Complex, 1702 U.S. 17 S. in Bartow. Fair organizers are planning to make many of the events viewable online, thanks to a partnership with PGTV (the county’s 24-hour-a-day cable channel, which will be livestreaming many of the fair’s events on YouTube).
To access these live feeds, visit www.pcyf.net and click on the “PCYF Watch Live” link.
The Youth Fair is not a PCPS event; it is organized and conducted by the volunteer Polk County Youth Fair Board of Directors. However, PCPS has been a longtime partner in staging the annual event. PCPS’ students and employees account for a large portion of the events’ attendees.
In years past, teachers were allowed to assist at the fair during school hours. This year, employees will not be authorized to participate in an official capacity beyond transporting student projects to the event site after school hours. Any employees who choose to participate beyond this will not do so as representatives of the district; their involvement will be outside the course and scope of their official duties.
“We have consulted closely with Health Department officials about participation by district students and employees. This year, the district will not authorize official participation by employees, or participation by students during school hours,” Hill said.
Additionally, students’ families will need to follow procedures at their school for requesting an excused absence for the specific time/day they are involved in the fair.
For those who do choose to attend the fair, Hill emphasized the need to wear face coverings, wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing.