Back to school: Students from seven Central Florida counties return to classrooms Monday

Thousands of Central Florida students will return to classrooms on Monday as seven counties begin classes in person.

Orange and Seminole counties’ students already returned to school last week, and some teachers said there have been significant challenges.

Many said they were excited to see their students again and were somewhat optimistic about how things might unfold. But on the first day of face-to-face lessons, Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, said there were no additional masks for kids whose masks broke.

Read: Osceola County teachers concerned about logistics, safety as students head back into classrooms Monday

Plus, she said, parents of some students who were supposed to be doing Launch-ED, decided at the last-minute to send their kids back.

Doromal said teachers had to accommodate those students, even though they'd set up their classrooms to maximize social distancing.

“The most common complaint that CTA is hearing is that it’s impossible to teach two classes at once, so teachers who have Launch-ED virtually are expected to also teach students face-to-face in front of them and they just have found that impossible,” Doromal said.

That's a direct contrast to the sunnier message sent out by the district at the end of the day on Friday.

“The children were just so excited. It makes a huge impact. The principals and the adults on campus were excited as well. They were like, ‘it’s so good to have children back on campus,’” Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said.

Read: Brevard County schools looking to hire more substitute teachers

Sumter, Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Polk and Osceola schools are all resuming classes on Monday for students who chose face-to-face or virtual options.

Several counties have taken extra precautions amid the pandemic.

In Brevard County, safety precautions include assigned seats on the bus, wearing face masks and extra cleaning procedures.

All students in grades three to 12 are required to wear masks.

“We certainly understand the apprehension that parents have in sending the students back to school but know that we continue to look at all the precautions we have in place and as well as look at others that may come up and we continue to adjust and adapt,” said superintendent Mark Mullins.

Read: Closing arguments made in court over reopening schools amid pandemic

In Osceola County, students who are taking the bus will notice some changes.

There will be hand sanitizer stations located on the bus. Students will be seated from back to front. When they get off the bus, they will get off from the front to the back.

There are some concerns about connectivity issues when students log on to their computers.

Volusia County schools will follow the next week, opening to students Aug. 31.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.