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Rotary Happenings: The Sanibel School’s challenges, opportunities

By Staff | Sep 1, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The Sanibel School Principal Jaime Reid and Assistant Principal Jennifer Lusk will lead students safely through another school year at the top-rated educational institution.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of challenges to the start of the school year. Lee County students had four different choices for schooling. First, they can be face-to-face in classrooms using safety precautions as prescribed by the school district. Second, they can opt for Lee Home Connect, a program where they stay at home while on the computer with their class and teacher at The Sanibel School. The third option is they could choose Florida Virtual School, or lastly they could be home-schooled. On Sanibel, 65 percent of students choose to face-to-face instruction, which is a little higher than the rest of Lee County.

For those who chose face-to-face instruction, many new precautions have been set in place to protect the students and staff. Face masks are mandatory for staff and students alike, and face shields will be promoted as well. There will be daily instructions in health and wellness, truly focusing on washing hands often and for 20 seconds. Thankfully, The Sanibel School has outdoor hallways and courtyards in which the children can eat. Those who are eating in the cafeteria will be socially distanced and tables will be disinfected with a cleaning product supplied by the district, which remains on the tables for 10 minutes to kill the virus. Visitors and volunteers will not be allowed in the school. All hallways will be one-way and classrooms will be segregated from each other. These are just some of the many precautions enacted to ensure the safety of everyone at the school.

Yet in spite of all of the new challenges presented to the staff at The Sanibel School, they are — and no doubt will remain — the top-rated school in the district, welcoming off-island children as well for a wonderful education experience. We are truly fortunate to have Jamie Reid and Jennifer Lusk leading our students at The Sanibel School.

Reid joined the school as assistant principal in 2015, before becoming principal in 2020. Prior to that, she served as assistant principal at Trafalgar Middle School for five years. She has worked for the Lee County School District for over 30 years at both the elementary and middle school levels. Her numerous awards for outstanding performance include: Lee County Golden Apple Teacher, PBS Silver Model School, National Blue Ribbon School, Teacher of Recognition and Five Star School Award, as well as being a National Board Certified Teacher. Reid comes from a family of educators, and her daughter, Casey, and two grandchildren, Makenna and Ryder, are all products of Lee County Public Schools. Reid is an avid reader and stays active in her spare time teaching yoga, traveling, boating and hiking.

Lusk has worked for the Lee County School District since 2004, working the last four years as an assistant principal of Lehigh Elementary. In 2019, she won the Florida Sterling Council’s Storyboard Competition for her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Project “Absent Minded,” which focused on decreasing staff absenteeism by increasing positive school culture. Lusk is a lifelong Lee County resident. She has been married to her husband, Christopher, for 18 years and has two children, Kylie and David, who inspire her daily. Lusk loves reading action and mystery books, especially those written by Randy Wayne White and James Patterson. She further loves to encourage children to love reading and does all she can to support the partnership between the Lee County Library System and school district. Lusk is honored to join The Sanibel School and proud to be part of Team Sanibel.

In light of COVID-19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meets on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. via Zoom. To take part, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.